If you’re like me, then you are tired of all the quote-unquote Christmas entertainment out there. Movies or songs that are considered in Christmas genre but really have nothing to do with Christmas. For example, a quick glance at anyone’s top 10 Christmas songs will reveal absolutely nothing about the nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The nostalgic entertainment like “The Christmas Song” (made famous by Nat King Cole) are okay, but the romantic ones like Wham!’s “Last Christmas” are sappy and cheesy; the political ones (John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas”) are offensive; the consumerist ones (“Silver Bells”) are annoying; and stuff like Mariah Carey’s “Santa Coming to Town” makes me want to throw up all of my Advent chocolate. I mean what were they thinking?
The film industry is just as bad at leeching off Christmas in order to make royalties every year around Christmastime. People, “A Christmas Story” has nothing to do with Christmas! It’s doesn’t even hint around at it. It’s a Wonderful Life is not technically a Christmas film, but gets a pass because it’s one of the greatest films of all time and it has an excellent moral. But the next time I see a clip of “Love Actually” during the season as if it has anything to do with it, I’m going to destroy the television that’s showing it.
Luckily there are some great films and songs that are actually about Christ’s birth. So, grab your nog and peppermint cookies and enjoy some actual Christmas entertainment:
This wonderful animated film takes a creative approach, telling the nativity story through the animals that were involved. What would be Saint Francis’s favorite film ever may just also be your kids’ favorite and perhaps yours as well. It’s beautiful, funny, and contains sound biblical history. There’s even a unique angle on redemption at the end. You can feel confident watching this with the whole family and actually looking forward to the actual nativity.
This live-action film has great acting and a realistic setting and costume to bring you into the story of Mary and Joseph realistically and entertainingly. Every story in the Bible needs a treatment as good as this!
Sorting through all the false Christmas concepts and commercialism, Charlie finally is able to come to the true meaning of Christmas at the end of their school play. Along the way, the Peanuts make you laugh and cry—all in less than a half hour!
Without explicitly mentioning Christ, The Grinch does an excellent job at dispelling the misconception that Christmas is about presents and toys and food. It’s the about the Light of the World as way depicted at the end in Whoville. We’ll take a symbolic Christ over none at all.
O Holy Night
One of the greatest songs is, naturally, about one of the greatest moments of all time. Composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem “Minuit, chrétiens” (Midnight, Christians) written by a wine merchant and poet, Placide Cappeau (1808–1877). In both the French original and the English version of the carol, as well as many other languages, the text reflects on the birth of Jesus and on humanity’s redemption.
Hark! the Herald Angel Sings
I get chills every time the organ kicks in with this hymn at Midnight Mass. Who wouldn’t? In 1739 Charles Wesley wrote a Christmas hymn that began ‘Hark! how all the welkin rings, Glory to the King of Kings’, the first incarnation of what is now Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. But the melody was to come from an unexpected source a century later: it’s a chorus from Festgesang an die Künstler, a cantata written by Mendelssohn to commemorate 400 years since Gutenburg’s invention of the printing press. It was British singer William Hayman Cummings who put the two together in 1855, creating the uplifting carol sung around the world today.
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
“O come, O come, Emmanuel” is a Christian hymn for Advent and Christmas. It is a translation of a Latin hymn, “Veni, veni, Emmanuel”, itself a metrical paraphrase of the O Antiphons, a series of plainchant antiphons attached to the Magnificat at Vespers over the final days before Christmas.
The Little Drummer Boy
This hymn annoyed me until I had a little boy of my own.