Much like “Die Hard” or “The Family Stone”, “Home Alone” isn’t overwhelmingly holiday-themed. What we really remember about the movie are Kevin’s hijinks fighting off the Wet Bandits, his adventures roaming about town on his own and quotes like, “Keep the change, ya filthy animals.”
But I think the story of “Home Alone” makes a great metaphor for the Advent season.
Here’s a quick refresher in case you haven’t seen it in a while: The Mom of the McCalister clan plans an epic family trip to France for the holidays. Chaos leads to confusion on the way to the airport messing up the final family headcount. The baby of the family Kevin is left asleep at the house. No one realizes what’s happened until the plan is up in the air.
A pretty funny plot for a film, but totally unrealistic, right?
I mean, how could any caring parent lose sight of one of your own children, especially at Christmas?
The holidays are supposed to be the most joyful time of the year. For most us, though, they’re really the busiest and most stressful time.
Our responsibilities at work increase as the boss wants to close out Q4 strong. The gift list starts adding up. The bank account starts drying up.
What’s supposed to be a season of reflection and anticipation rapidly becomes one of deadlines and doubts.
Before you know it it’s December 24th. Your’e standing in line at Target for Grandpa’s gift and it hits you – you’ve forgotten about The Child at Christmas.
It’s a lot easier than you realize to let Jesus slip your mind at Christmas. The world is not going to help you out at all. The holidays can disrupt even the most faithful of us.
To avoid a “Home Alone” situation this Christmas, you have to be intentional. You can’t just assume a little Bing Crosby on the radio and a wreath on the door will make the season come alive in your heart. You have to do a little work keep Jesus on your mind.
Here’s a few things you can try to avoid a “Home Alone” Advent:
– Read an Advent devotional. It’s really not too late. The Bible app has plenty of Christmas-themed plans. You can jump right into the middle or try to catch up from the beginning.
– Find a partner. Don’t make this a Secret Santa situation, trying to hide your faith struggle from the world. Seek out a friend who will hold you accountable and go through a devotional with you – Someone who will check in on your holiday cheer.
– Schedule a time for charity. Serve a meal at your local homeless shelter. Ring the bells for Salvation Army. Bake cookies for postmen or firefighters. A small act of service at Christmas will put your priorities and your problems in perspective.
– Attend a Christmas service. It doesn’t have to just be the Christmas Eve service. Check in on the Youth or Children’s Christmas program at your church. Seeing Christmas through a youngster’s eyes can reawaken a childlike spirit in your heart.
– Read the story. If nothing else, make the time this year to read the Christmas story. Read it in a different translation – a contemporary one like The Voice or go old school with the King James. Give yourself the gift of a fresh look at the age-old story this year. Remind yourself of what it’s all about.
The Christmas spirit of “Home Alone” shines through in the final act, as Kevin’s family miraculously finds their way back to the child they abandoned. It’s not too late for us to have a reunion with The Christ Child either.
It will take some work on our part. But if we make the effort to turn around, The Child will be waiting for us with open arms.