Dec 1 2012

Emmanuel and the 7 Deadly Sins in Christmas movies


Pride makes Clark Griswold do stupid things in Christmas Vacation. In fact, pride is a driving motivation for Clark in all the Vacation movies. His gloriously ridiculous light show, buying things for his family before he has the money and hiding his fears and problems from his family reveal the pressure he feels to measure up to the man he thinks he is supposed to be. When he finds out about his bonus Clark feels devalued by his boss and is devastated, not only that he might disappoint his family, but that in disappointing them he might lose their love and respect. Christmas Vacation is a reminder that love and worth are not determined by deliverables.

In The Nightmare Before Christmas Jack Skellington envies Santa and wants his job. Bored with his own role as king of Halloweentown, when Jack discovers Christmastown he finds it so much more appealing that he tries to turn Halloweentown into another Christmastown. Eventually Jack recognizes that he can take the imspiration and renewed energy that he found in Christmastown and bring that to the work he is meant to do. Continue reading

Dec 25 2011

The Ghost of Christmas Present is aging fast


Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is one of those stories that bears retelling. I remember watching the 1951 version starring Alistair Sim on TV as a child and being terrified of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.  When the Ghost of Christmas Past shows Scrooge Marley’s deathbed scene I think I learned the meaning of mortality before I ever heard the word. It was my first sobering visit with one of Dickens’ ghosts.

I think the Muppets might tell it best, though Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse both do credible jobs. The most recent Disney offering starring Jim Carrey is pretty good as is the BBC version.  And I sort of liked Bill Murray’s modern version, Scrooged. With each viewing one of the ghosts has had something different to show me. Continue reading

Dec 19 2009

Top 10 Christmas Movies


Here are  my top 10 Christmas movies and what I get out of them:

Love Actually

Love Actually – We are created for relationship and some of us will slug through the insecurity that comes with love while others will settle for the temporary satisfaction that comes with lust. The sacrifices and pain that comes with loving imperfect people is worth the price.


Christmas Vacation – We can worry too much about how others might judge us. Our desire for approval can cause us to focus on what we think people want from us rather than focusing on our relationships with those people. Continue reading

Jan 4 2009

The Seven Deadly Sins at Christmas Part Three


Envy – One-up on Christmas in The Office


We feel victorious when we score the coveted gift of the season so we can score the emotional currency by giving it to someone who will appreciate our savvy and effort. We may engage in bidding wars on eBay.  In the Christmas episode of the The Office, Dwight buys up several of the coveted Princess Unicorn dolls then in turn sells them for well over street value to “lazy parents” who waited until the last minute. In order to compete with his ex-wife for the children’s affection. “My ex-wife’s gonna be so pissed. And for once Daddy’s gonna be a hero.” When Darryl buys the last one, Toby is willing to pay him $400, twice what he paid Dwight and way more than street value.

In the same episode Phyllis blackmails Angela into allowing her to be the one who plans the Christmas party. She mercilessly orders Angela around, forcing her to  help fulfill Phyllis’ dream party. Angela is usually the one who plans the parties and Phyllis has been jealous of this. Angela’s prideful, superior attitude toward Phyllis has fueled Phyllis’ resentment even further. Putting on the perfect holiday event can become a huge competition. Continue reading

Dec 23 2008

The Seven Deadly Sins at Christmas – Part Two


Anger – Grinchiness

Stupid happy people can be really annoying. It’s a time of year when some of us let down our guard. We open our wallets and donate money to causes we may have never heard of or buy our friends unnecessary (and sometimes ridiculous) gifts. We listen to music we’d never listen to any other time of year.  We abandon taste and decorate with of huge pieces of yard art and gaudy lights. We embrace hope and joy, perhaps only for a season, but we embrace it all the same. For whatever reason this sort of seasonal behavior makes some people angry.

These grinchy people refuse to abandon all hopelessness and enjoy the festivities. In How the Grinch Stole Christmas it’s not enough for the Grinch to ignore Christmas, he wants to spoil it for everyone else. The Grinch is an angry guy and his malice extends to the smallest Who down in Whoville. He finds the Whos’ joy offensive. He is convinced that it is a shallow joy that is centered around the “stuff” of Christmas. Continue reading

Dec 18 2008

The Seven Deadly Sins at Christmas – Part One


Gluttony – Holiday Stuffing

Everywhere we turn at Christmas there is food. It’s possible to graze all day every day between Thanksgiving and New Years’. We turn to Paula “a stick of butter” Deen and Rachel “Yum-O” Ray to help us whip up something delicious. It’s fun to sit around and watch TV cooks whip up something delicious then go into the kitchen and pull out all the stops, imagining ourselves as The Next Food Network Star.

At Christmas people bring food to work. Every get-together involves eating and drinking along with the merriment. If we don’t try every dish someone is likely to have hurt feelings. If we can’t think of anything else to give at Christmas we offer a tin of sweets or basket of meat, cheese or chocolate. There is candy in our stockings and candy hanging from our Christmas trees.

Continue reading