Reviewed by: John Walker
How can I know what is right and wrong? Answer
materialism and Christmas
The purpose of Christ’s birth was to ultimately die in payment for our sins.
What should we thank God for, and how should we praise Him? Answer
Are you thankful to God? GO
What impact does storytelling have on kids and adults?
a book that had a strong influence on Kirk Cameron and this movie is God Rest Ye Merry: Why Christmas is the Foundation for Everything by Pastor Douglas Wilson (2012)
Fact check—Bear in mind that the Santa Claus we know and St. Nicholas are not the same person. Rather, the Santa Claus myth, in its many tranformations, is partially derived from legends about a 4th century gift-giver named Nikolaos. Tradition says that Nikolaos of Myra (commonly called St. Nicholas) was a dedicated Greek Christian servant leader in Lycia (now Turkey), when ruled by Rome. He apparently lived from perhaps 270 to 343 (or 345 or 352) A.D., was known for his generosity, and possibly signed the Nicene Creed and possibly attended the Nicean Council (first ecumenical synod held in Nicea), and may have slapped a heretic there. There are apparently no historical documents from his time (much less a contemporary biography) that verify anything about him, including his existence. However, it seems reasonable to believe that the traditions are based on a real person and some fact, but the details are uncertain in origin and some seem like embellishments.
The story about St. Nicholas conveyed in “…Saving Christmas” appears to stem from a comical 2005 article (“Slappy holiday”) by Dr. Gene Edward Veith in World magazine and is based in tradition. Veith is provost of Patrick Henry College, and formerly a professor at Concordia Theological Seminary.
|Featuring:||Kirk Cameron … Kirk
Darren Doane … Christian
Bridgette Cameron Ridenour … Actress
Raphi Henly … Actor
Ben Kientz … Actor
|Distributor:||Samuel Goldwyn Films|
a comedy speaking to grumpy, humbug Christians
In some ways, it may be easy as a Christian to give this Kirk Cameron flick an enthusiastic thumb up for its overall message and values. I knew going in that I would probably not find anything very objectionable in the film, and I would not feel uneasy seeing the movie. My presumptions were true, and I think I enjoyed the movie on those points. There is more to the movie than I expected, but I think it will be up to each individual person seeing it to take from it what you bring to it in the first place.
The movie starts with a short monologue by Kirk and then leads into the main movie from there. The story is about an evening spent with Kirk at his sister’s Christmas get-together. There are friends and family gathered to celebrate Christmas in the way most of us might spend Christmas together. There is food, a Christmas tree, presents, nice decorations and even Santa Claus (stay with me before you get too upset)—everything you might expect at this time of year. Herein lies the problem, Kirk’s brother-in-law in the film has a conflict of the soul as to whether the true message of Christmas is being lost on the world and those around him. As he ponders these things from the confines of his car in the driveway, Kirk comes out and tries to help him regain the joy, meaning, and purpose of the holiday that we celebrate as Christmas. Kirk takes his brother-in-law’s points of contention and tries to help him discover the hidden Christian origins of each of those lost traditions.
First, let’s talk about what the movie is not. It is not a big Hollywood production. It lacks big sets, famous actors, large production trappings and an overall polished sense of a fine movie. The acting is so-so, and the story develops way too slow for my contemporary tastes. The dialog seems drawn out and could be compressed more, so that the audience does not begin to feel awkward at those moments. It does feel a little amateurish and silly, at times, but that can be part of its appeal also.
Now, let’s talk about what the movie is. It feels like an honest attempt to infuse some joy back into what can be a less than festive time for some at this time of year. As Christian parents, I think we strive to find that balance of spirituality and celebration that the birth of the Lord Jesus deserves. I did enjoy the vignettes of believers past and the telling of some of the trappings of today’s Christmas celebrations and how those traditions came into being. To be honest, some of the presentations were a little preachy, but I like a good sermon; how they affect you individually probably has a lot to say about where you are at with these traditions, even more than whether you agree with their definitions. As I thought about the traditions I celebrate, I began to ask myself, do I bring Christ to the forefront in my Christmas traditions? Probably not as much as I should.
Kirk Cameron is a decent actor and is very likable, and his moments on screen are not dreadful. The film is mainly for Christians, but may lead both believers and unbelievers alike to research the basis of their Christmas traditions. There is not really anything too objectionable, except for maybe one vignette which has a few moments of Saint Nicholas from history shown as very threatening and violent to someone who would present Jesus as any less than the person of God that he is. This may be a little scary for small children, and parents should use their discretion.
In my own unprofessional opinion, I might have streamlined the dialog and included a few more traditions that have given way to lost meanings and rote practice. I can wholeheartedly agree with the premise of the film which is that Christmas is what we as Christians make it to be. It is our attitudes and words that make Christmas either an overblown indulgence-fest or a Christian holiday full of the symbolism and joy we expect the celebration of our Lord coming into the world to be (Matthew 1:23). Don’t go in with too much expectation, but do go in expecting to come out asking how we can help make Jesus the reason for the season again.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None
official site: savingchristmas.com
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.