Film Friday Christmas Classic: Home Alone

Young Kevin falls out with his family on the evening before they fly off for the Christmas holiday. The next day everyone oversleeps and young Kevin is left home alone by mistake, and then has to fend for himself for a few days. Whilst sitting quietly in church on Christmas Eve he is approached by Old Man Marley, the one guy in the neighbourhood all the kids are scared of…

It turns out that Old Man Marley is not so frightening after all. Kevin and his friends have misjudged him, believed the gossip. Not only is he not scary but he is also disarmingly honest about the troubles of family life. He tells Kevin that he is not allowed to see his granddaughter because he and his son fell out a long time ago. And now there is a gulf of bad feeling between them. Kevin, missing his own family and regretting falling out with them, tells Marley that he thinks he should try patching it up.

Christmas is not necessarily easy when families get together. Not everyone gets along and the added pressure to make things all supercalifragilistic for the season does not always help. We often want to get along but cannot find the words, or the feelings, or the courage, or the kindness to sort things out. Jesus understands this kind of thing. As he grew up he was misunderstood by his family. (Mark 3 vv 20-21) And when he began to spend increasing amounts of time with a larger family of friends and followers, his mother, brothers and sisters were affronted by what, in their culture, was lack of respect. (Mark 3 vv 31-35) I like the way Old Man Marley says to Kevin that church is a good place to be if you’re feeling bad about yourself. You could say that Christmas comes each year, not only for those who get on, but for all those who find it hard to get along. ‘Peace on earth,’ the angels told the shepherds. ‘My peace I leave you,’ said Jesus, 33 years later, ‘but not as the world gives it.’ A different peace, a peace with the power to help us love those we find ourselves at odds with, a peace sealed with three nails and a busted tomb. It’s easy to write this, harder to implement it. Especially if those folks we would like to make peace with, don’t seem interested in patching things up. Sometimes perhaps, all we can do is pray for them, and bless them in the name of Jesus. The one who understands how difficult life can be.

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