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Posts Tagged ‘Santa Claus’

Welcome to “Cinema Saturday,” a variation of the “Film Clip Friday” thing I tried a couple years ago.

Merry Christmas! 🙂

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O good St. Nicholas, you who are the joy of children, put in my heart the spirit of childhood, which the Gospel speaks, and teach me to seed happiness around me.  You, whose feast prepares us for Christmas, open my faith to the mystery of God made man.  You good bishop and shepherd, help me to find my place in the Church and inspire the Church to be faithful to the Gospel.  O good Saint Nicholas, patron of children, sailors and the helpless, watch over those who pray to Jesus, your Lord and theirs, as well as over those who humble themselves before you.  Bring us all in reverence to the Holy Child of Bethlehem, when true joy and peace are found.  Amen.

Aknowledgement

Bjoertvedt.   24 November 2010.   Russian icon depicting St Nicholas with scenes from his life. Late 1400s or early 1500s. National Museum, Stockholm ( NMI 272).

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MerryOldSantaThe debate about Santa Claus is almost as heated as this ridiculous El Niño December we’re having in the Northeast U.S (sorry warm weather lovers, but I’m old school — I like my snow for Christmas).  And while there is nothing I can do about the weather, I think I can help shed some light on the Santa question. (more…)

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Polar_express

Robert Zemeckis’ 2004 adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg’s “The Polar Express” is not for those who are easily upset by sadness and nostalgia in movies.  But if you can manage it, you’ll find some gems worth pondering.

lonely boyFirst, there is the unnamed “Lonely Boy” who almost doesn’t hop aboard the Polar Express.  And when the train arrives at the North Pole, he remains on the train while all the other kids are being shepherded out to wait for Santa Claus’ appearance.

“Hero Boy” (Daryl Sabara), the main character, immediately goes up to the Conductor (Tom Hanks) and asks: “What about him (Lonely Boy)?”

The Conductor’s response is brief and to the point: “No one is required to see Santa.”

We could learn a lot about sin and hell from this part of the movie.  God excludes no one — it is we who enclose ourselves within our great loneliness by turning away from Him, by staying in our private trolleys while others go to see Santa (in this case, Jesus).

polar express bellNow I think I’ll skip to the end.  The narrator (also Tom Hanks), who is none other than Hero Boy as an adult, declares that he alone of all the kids on the Polar Express’ journey was able to hear the sound of Santa Claus’ bells into adulthood.  Even his friend Sarah (Isabella Peregrina), who was perhaps the biggest Christmas enthusiast on the trip, would slowly lose the magic.

I see a definite faith analogy here.  The wonder of the world as seen through the lens of faith in the Blessed Trinity is awesome.  But even when we maintain this faith intellectually, we, too, can gradually stop “hearing” once we cease to live as though we believed.

Fans of the movie will recall that at one point, Hero Boy loses the bell he is given when it falls out through a hole in his robe pocket.  Similarly, there are “holes” in our lives whereby at times, almost in spite of ourselves, we can begin to lose the precious gift of faith we are given.  We become lukewarm, and we lose sight of what is important.

Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain. … They are the people who hear the word, but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit. (Mark 4: 7, 18-29)

the polar express_santaFinally, some thoughts on the scene in which Hero Boy meets Santa Claus (also Tom Hanks).  This meeting occurs immediately following that decisive moment when he says several times, with resolve, “I believe.”

After seeing this movie, I admit I was momentarily overcome with nostalgia, with sadness, with such profound and unexpected longing.  I said to myself…

“I wish Santa Claus was real.”

Santa Claus (a.k.a St. Nicholas) is real, of course — just ask Brett Fawcett.  But I’m talking North Pole, man in the red suit with a stocking hat, elves, toy shop, etc.  Let me rephrase it this way: “I wish the king of the North Pole was real.”

With that childhood yearning resonating anew within me, something occurred to me about why children are so precious to us.  It’s not just their wide-eyed wonder, but the fact that they want a “shining start” to look to — someone or something wondrous and good, in whom/which they can place their trust even when good but imperfect parents, teachers, and other accessible role models let them down.

Even into adulthood, we all want someone like Santa Claus or Aslan (the Lion of C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia”)…a Messiah — a Christ.

Happily, that is precisely what we celebrate during the Christmas season.  The wonder of Christ is the wonder of Christmas.

Santa Claus (St. Nicholas), pray for us, that we may all discover — and never lose — that wonder.

Top image from Wikipedia; remaining images obtained through a Google image search.

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“You better not shout,
You better not cry,
You better not pout,
I’m telling you why…”

santameme

BECAUSE UNLESS YOU’VE HAD TO DEAL WITH HAULING 10,000 POUNDS’ WORTH OF PRESENTS THROUGH SUB-ARCTIC TEMPERATURES
WHILE BEING ASSAULTED BY REINDEER FARTS
AT 32,000 FEET,
I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT.

Photo from http://www.memegenerator.net.

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This video is from Brett Fawcett, one of my favorite “Youtubers.”  He shares some comments on the beloved figure of Santa Claus from a Catholic perspective.  Give it a listen — you might be surprised!

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