Film Friday: The Family Man

High flying businessman Jack Campbell meets an unusual stranger on Christmas Eve and tells him he has everything he could possibly need in his life. So the stranger promises to give him a ‘glimpse’. The next morning Jack wakes up, not in his high class, astoundingly expensive apartment, but next to the girlfriend he left 13 years ago. Now she is his wife and they have two little children. Jack finds himself on a steep learning curve here, and his daughter can tell he’s not the dad they are used to, she wonders if he might be a visitor from outer space…

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By the time Jack meets the unusual stranger again he has changed, this ‘glimpse’ has radically altered his worldview. But now it’s time to return to his former, highflying, money-strewn, lonely reality. And suddenly he can’t bear the thought of leaving this chaotic, jumbled, full life he has found.

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This may just be my favourite Christmas film. A tale that draws on those timeless festive classics A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s a great funny story about what matters in life, and adjusting to pressure and change and caring for others. Jack begins the tale as a man bent on doing all he can to acquire more more more. He ends the story searching for something much more precious. The bad guy in the Christmas story, a little villain we call Herod, was obsessed with gaining power and wealth. And when a glimpse of another kind of king appeared he got very jumpy indeed. But that new tiny bundle of a king embodied things that Jack and Herod needed desperately, things like purpose, security, value and identity. I came across a saying this year that has stuck with me: We often try to fill the gap inside ourselves with stuff that just makes the gap bigger. In amongst the rush and bustle of festive things, I hope we may all discover again the precious gift of reality and life, embodied in a new king in an animal trough in Bethlehem.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Dave! This story makes me ponder the terrible cost we pay when we serve the money god. Humans are incurably religious. We either serve the true God or a false god. Did Herod worship power and money? Or just power? Habakkuk 1:11 is worth pondering.

  2. Mark Roques says:

    Thanks Dave for this blog. I wonder which false god had captivated Herod’s life? Was it just power? Or power and money? Habakkuk 1:11 is worth pondering.

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