A long-held Christmas tradition of my wife Mary is watching Christmas movies – a practice I was not aware of until we lived together. Sappy ones, silly ones, new ones, old ones – all are fair viewing fodder! I must admit I have not shared her ‘bring a sparkle to the eyes’ enthusiasm for the Christmas flicks as one of my traditions, but I’m moving in that direction!
Last week, I wanted to finish a sewing project, so I sewed while a new Christmas movie played on the TV within hearing distance – I’ve just understated that – since we now live in an apartment, that means I was sewing at the kitchen island and the TV was five 6 away – it’s just that I had to turn around if I wanted to see it. It wasn’t long before I was turning around more that I was sewing. Soon the machine was idle, and I was on the couch engrossed in the unfolding story of Klaus, a new animated Christmas film.
In the movie, there are feuding clans, led by Mr. Ellingboe and Mrs. Krum, who continue “the centuries of glorious hatred” complete with a wall dividing their neighborhoods (sound familiar?). A young cynical schoolteacher, the exiled postal clerk and the reclusive woodworker, Klaus are the main characters. Klaus initially seems to be a dangerous, dark character, but underneath that scary façade we learn that Klaus is kind-hearted man who has suffered loss, and like many of us when we struggle, isolates himself.
Jesper, the new postal clerk with an ulterior motive, eventually breaks down the barriers around Klaus’s heart and a friendship and common goal form, with Klaus modeling selflessness, kindness and generosity. It is he who shares the theme: “A true selfless act always sparks another”.
And so, the movie unfolds - one selfless act leads to another, and to another, and to another.
May it be so with us. May the walls around our hearts and homes come down. May we see beyond another’s pain. May we be selfless in our words and actions.
Pam is a clinical social worker in private practice, a newly won over Christmas movie watcher and the fortunate wife of Mary O’Reilly.