His annual Christmas party faltering thanks to his cynical brother-in-law, former Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron attempts to save the day by showing him that Jesus Christ remains a crucial component of the over-commercialized holiday..
Kirk is enjoying the annual Christmas party extravaganza thrown by his sister until he realizes he needs to help out Christian, his brother-in-law, who has a bad case of the bah-humbugs. Kirk's fresh look at Christmas provides Christian the chance to see Christ is where He has always been: at the center of our Christmas celebrations and traditions. Can Kirk save his in-law's opinions on Christmas or will he have to celebrate the holiday without him?Written by
This movie is so, so utterly wretched, not only in its execution but also in its conception.
Just from a filmmaking perspective, it's extremely shoddy. Many portions look like home movies. A large part of the film is Cameron sitting in a car talking to a friend, and that's not interesting to watch. "Comedy" scenes have nothing to do with the rest of the story, and are creepily unfunny. A bizarre dance scene at the end is out of place and seems inserted to extend the time. Cameron's presence here is smarmy and smug; he lays out his spiritual views and his friend just gushes about how right Cameron is and how he's helped him see the light and love Christmas and all that.
A bigger problem is the misinformation that Cameron spews so authoritatively, some of which runs counter to the Bible and to known history. To give a partial list:
Cameron claims that Joseph and Mary were hiding from soldiers sent by Herod to kill all babies being born. But the Gospel of Matthew says the soldiers were sent by Herod AFTER Jesus was born, when Herod was tipped off by the visiting Wise Men that a King of the Jews had been born. Joseph and Mary then took Jesus and did the Flight into Egypt to save the child's life.
Cameron insists the Nativity took place in a cave because the manger was made of stone. No source claims the manger was stone, or that the Nativity took place in a cave. Matthew says it was in Joseph's house in Bethlehem, Luke says it was a stable. This seems like a post-hoc attempt to link the Nativity with the Resurrection.
Cameron says frankincense and myrrh were "funeral spices." Although myrrh had been used in Egyptian mummification, frankincense was not, and both were much more commonly used as a sacred incense in Hebrew temples.
He goes into detail about Saint Nicholas' life, presenting it as fact, but in truth very little is known for sure about him, and some Christian leaders openly suggest that he may never have existed. All that is known for sure is that someone named Nicholas was at one point the Bishop of Myra; everything else is unsure and in the territory of legend and myth.
Legend has it that during the Council of Nicaea, Nicholas angrily struck Arius in the face for saying that Jesus and God were separate. Cameron depicts Nicholas savagely and brutally attacking Arius and beating him with a shepherd's crook, a scene many Christians found objectionable.
Cameron depicts the historical Saint Nicholas climbing on a sleigh to deliver presents to children, something he never did in any legend. He also claims that Saint Nicholas is the gift-giver everywhere, also not supported by history. Some areas give gifts on Christmas, others at Epiphany, others on St. Nicholas' day, and in some areas the gifts are delivered by someone else entirely, such as La Befana in Italy, St. Basil in Greece, the Yule Lads in Iceland, St. Lucy in Croatia, and multiple countries have the gifts delivered by the Magi, angels, or the Christ Child himself.
Cameron says Nicholas was "sainted," when in reality Nicholas was never canonized. His sainthood was more by word-of-mouth.
Cameron makes an elaborate rationalization for Christmas trees relating to the crucifixion and to the Garden of Eden; this connection is very convoluted and labored, and doesn't hold water. And he doesn't address the parts of Jeremiah which some feel are a commandment against Christmas trees.
He claims that gifts piled under the Christmas tree are perfectly acceptable as they are reminiscent of the skyline of Jerusalem. By that reasoning, they could also be the skyline of Babylon or Rome, and could represent oppression and slavery. It's a poorly considered analogy that should never have been included.
I'm sure I'm missing other bits, but I'm not inclined to go back and watch it again. It's unsettling to see Cameron stand and claim that it's OK to be materialistic at Christmas, because that's when God came to the Earth in material form. (That's pretty much a direct quote.) Never mind the many passages where the Bible tells us to set aside worldly things and not be materialistic! He exhorts viewers to eat themselves to bursting and buy the biggest ham and the richest butter....but isn't gluttony considered a deadly sin?
At no point does he address such issues as helping the poor, feeding the hungry, giving to charity, volunteering, or anything. One is left with the impression that one should only think of one's self and one's immediate family and friends. Does Cameron remember Jesus' command to his followers to give away all they had to the poor? Somehow, I don't think so.
Cameron gives the impression of someone who read parts of the Bible long ago, but rather than fit his life to the Bible, he is fitting the Bible to the life he wants to lead, and making one justification after another without ever bothering to double-check if he's remembering it correctly, or if there's something in the Bible that disagrees with him. It's clear he considers himself a better Christian than you. Many of the faithful have been turned off by this movie, some even going so far as to declare it blasphemous and call Cameron a false prophet. I'm not so sure I would agree, but at the same time, this movie does have some value of showing how even a faithful Christian can fall victim to the sins of pride and arrogance. It's clear that Cameron's ego was in overdrive, and this movie is not as much a testament to God as it is an expression of Cameron's arrogance.
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