Cinematic Themes of Jesus

As we approach the date of celebration of the birth of Christ, I love to watch movies this time of year. Movies about, Heaven, God, & Christ are dusted off the shelves and played. I find it interesting that many of the movies I see right now are more about the death of Christ as opposed to his birth. “Ben-Hur”, “King of Kings” and the recently made “Risen” are all about the time of death and resurrection of Christ. “Passion of the Christ” is great, but just too real for meat certain points in the movie. Great movies, but one would think they would be more relevant around Easter. “It’s a Wonderful Life” and its modern-day semi-remake “The Family Man” with Nick Cage are two of my favorites. “The Nativity Story”, “The Birth of Jesus”, and “The Greatest Story Every Told” are all wonderful films.

It is absolutely marvelous when a hidden movie with Christ gets uncovered. I had the pleasure of watching “The Shack” with Sam Worthington today. Had not seen the previews, reviews, and had not a clue to the background of the movie. If you have not seen the movie, there are spoilers in this blog. While I had it on from the beginning, I was not paying much attention until the young Mack appears to poison his alcoholic father for beating him and his mother in drunken fits. That caught my eye and I watched. The story centers around a tragedy of the main character’s youngest daughter being abducted and ultimately murdered while on a camping trip. The abduction occurs in a moment when the father has to rush into the lake to save his other 2 teenage kids from drowning. They are in the water due to one child standing in the boat and causing it to capsize.

This part of the film hit a little too close to home for me. I was able to take my kids camping a lot as they grew up. I have been the dad that dived into the lake when a boat capsized. I have had my little wandering kids disappear on me and there is no greater fear for a parent than “what if”. So when the main character was sobbing to his wife that it was his fault when his daughter was abducted, he was right. The mom could say all she wanted that it was not his fault, but it was. I have been there, as have other parents. When you take your kids out, you are responsible for them. Period.  The film then delves into his guilt and anger.

Mack is enticed by a mysterious letter to return to the scene of the crime where his daughter was abducted. Frustration occurs when no one is there and it appears that Mack attempts to kill himself, only to be disrupted by a deer. What ensures afterward is a discovery of a man who appears to be Jesus that leads him to a beautiful cabin on the lake in spring. There he meets God in female form, as well as the Spirit of the Wind. Having met Jesus, Mack is in the presence of the Holy Trinity. What comes afterwards in a healing process for his soul that I did enjoy.

The reason I bring the movie up is it hit on some points I have been gravitating towards for some time that fall right in line with the Season of Celebration. The first point concerned the wrath of God. Growing up in the Bible Belt and being Sunday Schooled heavily in my early years, the wrath of God is something that you are taught and accept as doctrine. We hear of it from the Old and New Testament; God’s wrath is written in the Quran as well.  I have even seen teachings that God loves war, and allows man to slaughter one another. While I never bought into the war part, I never questioned the assumption of God’s wrath until I became a parent. Once you become a parent, you love your children with all of your heart and soul. Sometimes they do great and wondrous things and sometimes they break your heart, but at no time do you ever wish ill for your child. This message comes out in this movie several times through direct statement and at other times via implied actions. War and slaughter of mankind are acts of evil and man’s inability to properly interpret the world without God’s guidance. It makes a whole lot more sense that God wants all of his children to be loved and saved than condemn them to war, slaughter and ultimately hell. Seems to sound a lot like the message Jesus gave, but a message certain religious zealots seem to forget.

Point number 2 is that there is salvation regardless of the sin. This is based on the fact that young Mack kills his father through poisoning him, albeit it accidentally as well as the fact Mack is told forgiving his daughter’s murderer must be done for him to heal. God wants to “redeem” that man. Powerful message and one I am sure certain religious groups take serious issue with. As with wrath, why would God want to punish his children? If you have kids and have to discipline them, which is needed at times, it does not correlate to an enjoyment. The parent normally gets the worst of disciplining a child and it can be no different for God to send his child to hell without working to redeem and forgive them for terrible sins.

Which brings us back to the birth of Jesus and the Reason for the Season. Jesus preached love, faith, and forgiveness. Jesus asked us to forgive ourselves, our neighbors, as well as our enemies. Through faith you can have everlasting life in the light.

A light shown in the past, which will shine today, and will continue to shine tomorrow.

I hope you add this movie to your list to watch.

Remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season of Celebration and have a Merry Christmas!

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