Yesterday I was pondering as to why Christmas movies, by and large, are expected to have happy endings. By happy, I mean where everything is tied up with a sense of closure: single Dad is single no more, little Jimmy’s legs are working again and old Mrs so-and-so has now been able to let go of her tragic past and find hope again…
You get the idea.
It’s the holiday season: It’s a time when people gather with family and friends and sometimes watch movies together. The desire for extreme levels of brain activity whilst viewing is minimal, as is watching something hard hitting.
Narrative expectations: Our storytelling conventions have an expectation that there will be a resolution to all the complications happening in a story. So, in part, it’s that…
…and yet, there still seems to be this overarching idea that Christmas is supposed to make everything good again.
Society nowadays is far removed from Biblical thinking but I do think that’s what’s hanging over from the past when it comes to Christmas stories. It makes sense when the celebration is all about Jesus’ arrival.
Even that concept that ‘everything’s supposed to be good at the end’ is Biblical.
As it says at the end of The Bible: He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Or as the late evangelist, Billy Graham once said:
I’ve read the last page of the Bible. It’s all going to turn out all right.
Everything’s supposed to be good at the end thanks to Jesus. So it’s no surprise if we think everything’s supposed to be good when he turns up the first time around. And it’s no surprise that we think the celebration associated with that arrival should cause a whole bundle of good things to take place.
Christmas: It’s all going to turn out all right. That’s what we hope for, and why wouldn’t we?
Yours in pondering good endings,