It’s the same every year. The boxes are brought down from the attic/roof space, the tree is put together, the branches unfolded and my annual task of untangling the lights begins.
There is one box every year that I can’t wait to get into. The Christmas DVD box. As traditional as the tree itself we have a box full of Christmas DVDs that are just for this special time of year.
Every year the same rotation, It’s A Wonderful Life, Gremlins, Miracle on 34th Street even Christmas with the Kranks (don’t judge me) are all there to enjoy.
Home Alone however above all others has become a firm family favourite. For starters be honest who hasn’t wished their family would disappear at some point? Kevin being man of the house slapping on some Brut and of course the chaos of Harry and Marv working their way through Kevin’s fun house.
There was one part of the film though that, particularly in my younger days, bored me. The segment in the film where Kevin goes to church.
This year though something changed. Something shifted. This year I watched what Kevin did and listened to what was said.
Kevin goes to church seeking refuge. He is missing his family, is afraid and needs some sanctuary. Unexpectedly he encounters his neighbour Old Man Marley and is shocked to discover the human side of a man he has previously been terrified of. The realisation comes that Old Man Marley is also in church for refuge. He is in fact very similar to Kevin as he also misses his family. Estranged from his son Marley has to watch the choir practice as this is the only way he can see his grand daughter be close to his family. The refuge he seeks is from his past circumstances whereas Kevin seeks refuge from the present.
During the conversation Marley has the killer line following a misunderstanding with Kevin when he corrects him by saying ‘everyone is welcome at church’.
That’s why Kevin goes to church. That’s why Marley is there. They know deep down even with their problems that church is a place of refuge and a place of welcome to the weary.
I hope that this Christmas you find church (wherever that may be ) to be the same.