I admit it; I enjoy the marathon of sappy Christmas movies that appear on the movie channels at holiday time. They’re not the deepest, most impactful, or intellectually stimulating movies, I must concede; but, they do seem to elicit that warm, fuzzy, family feeling which causes so many of us to enjoy an extra bit of cheer and sprint in our step during the holidays. So, when I see that the time has come again each year for Christmas movies to start airing, I set my DVR and record a large portion of them. Then, I kick off my shoes, snuggle up on the couch, and watch them at my leisure.
Though they’re not necessarily deemed blockbusters or Oscar winning hits, these holiday movies do have one noteworthy characteristic in common. By the end of the movie, they all exemplify, in one way or another, a spirit of kindness, goodwill, and unconditional love among the characters in the plots. And, last night’s Christmas movie that I viewed (first of the season I might add) did not disappoint.
In brief summary, the movie was about a large family whose members were alienated from one another for various reasons. They hadn’t spent Christmas together in years. But, this particular Christmas, the matriarch of the family, Madera, insisted that her entire family come back home to her house to reunite for a traditional family Christmas. Much to their dismay, each family member reluctantly agreed to their mother’s wishes, and went home for the holiday.
As is often the case when estranged family members come together for a large gathering, skirmishes and offenses came to play early on in the reunion. At the forefront, were blatant, disruptive displays of anger among the family members, resulting from long held grudges which were clearly overdue in being resolved. That, in and of itself, was a bit gloomy to watch…..to see siblings striking out against one another (sometimes in literal fisticuffs), and all her children opposing Madera. This was not the scenario one would typically expect from a holiday movie.
Nevertheless, as usual, the movie did redeem itself in a magnificent way. You see, Madera’s husband had, years prior while their children were still young, abruptly abandoned her in a most devastatingly hurtful way. He had never returned, but had left Madera and their children deserted and heartbroken. However, a God-fearing man, named Joe, who saw what had happened to Madera and her children, took great compassion on the family. Joe then stepped in, and tried to fill the empty void that Madera’s husband had so brutally left in the wake of his abandonment. Madera came to love Joe, who was a strong, steadfast man who reciprocated Madera’s feelings.
Unfortunately, not all of Madera’s children were as fond of Joe as Madera was. In fact, some of Madera’s children, especially her oldest son named Quinton, greatly resented Joe for coming into the family and trying to take the place of their biological father. As a matter of fact, Quinton disliked Joe so immensely, that not only would he not speak to Joe, but he left Madera’s home years earlier, so he wouldn’t have to live with Joe’s presence.
When Quinton came home for the family Christmas reunion, and saw that Joe was also present, Quinton continued to treat Joe with intense revulsion every time they encountered one another. However, through all of Quinton’s nastiness towards him, Joe never responded in kind, and consistently turned the other cheek. As a matter of fact, Joe always showed U Love to all the children as he tried to help them through the heartbreak of their father’s abandonment.
Near the end of the movie, we saw Joe’s ultimate display of unconditional love. Joe had come to the knowledge that Quinton was in a dangerous financial situation. Quinton owed twenty-five thousand dollars to a couple of loan sharks, who threatened to kill him if he didn’t pay them back by Christmas morning. Now Quinton didn’t have the money, so he was desperately trying to come up with some solution to his twisted woe. Unfortunately, Quinton wasn’t able to pull the money together to repay the loan sharks by their deadline. And, on Christmas Eve, the loan sharks captured Quinton, and begin trying to kill him. As they beat him, there didn’t seem to be any hope for Quinton, with the end drawing near.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, Joe appeared!! Joe had a gun drawn; and he spewed threatening words at the loan sharks like bullets from his mouth. As Joe took charge of the situation, he offered the loan sharks his own ten thousand dollars on behalf of Quinton. Joe promised that if they would take his money in place of Quinton, he wouldn’t shoot them or send them to jail. After a heated and suspenseful scene, the loan sharks finally agreed to Joe’s terms. They let Quinton loose, after which everyone walked away safe. Quinton was out of his bind all because of Joe’s unconditional love.
You can guess that after Joe’s generous display of love towards Quinton, the two quickly made amends, and ended up on tender terms. This act of kindness then led to the restoration of all the other torn relationships in the family. Hence, we see how U Love can become a continuous chain. Actually, Joe’s kindness towards Quinton was only one of his acts of goodwill towards Madera’s family.
At different points in the movie, the viewer would see each of Madera’s children facing a seemingly impossible crisis. Joe would consistently step in (like a good Samaritan) to bail them out in one way or another. In each situation, Joe’s U Love would elicit a far reaching emotional effect on that particular family member, and on the family as a whole. Joe demonstrated to the family exactly how a loving father would behave. He was an amazing example of selfless, unconditional love.
All in all, the movie came to an excellent resolution, largely because of one man’s demonstration of unconditional love for people who were unloving towards him. But, after all, isn’t that what unconditional love is all about? It is turning the other cheek, overlooking offenses, and showing kindness no matter how you’re treated! Obviously, Joe agrees. He beautifully exemplified unconditional love throughout the movie.
I lovingly challenge all of us to move towards mastering these characteristics of unconditional love, as we continue forward in our daily relationships with others. Then, let’s see what transformations come out of this! This is how we’ll build our worldwide chain of U Love.….one person and one relationship at a time.
Please join our U Love chain here!