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Dept. of Merry Light Against the Dark


Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate within a traditional faith.
Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate with faith that isn't traditional.
Happy Holidays to all of you who love the lights and the songs and the in-gathering of loved ones.

The lights, the music, the determination to fight against the dark, the faith in something that loves humanity, (whether God or ourselves as we let the better angels of our nature lead us to grace) ... they are all precious in this universe.

I'm not a traditional believer these days, although I grew up in the Christian tradition. But in this season, I gladly reclaim some of that faith. I am glad to rejoice.

One of the ways in which I celebrate each year is by watching "It's A Wonderful Life," which everyone in our family unironically and deeply loves. The reasons are hard to unpack, but they have as much to do with grace as anything, I suppose.

Some years ago, I wrote something about a then-current essay that seemed, until one looked closely, to inveigh against the film (and there have certainly been many people who do.) My meditation included three small stories of what I thought might have happened after Mr. Capra's story ended. If you're interested, here's a link to what I wrote back then.

So, let's embrace life, and celebrate it by giving of ourselves to those we cherish, in whatever way we do. Let's eat goose, exchange presents, wear paper hats, embrace our children and friends, get maudlin, and search the skies for a star (or for all the stars.)

Merry Christmas, friends - and here, have a Christmas tree!

 photo 51d1fdc7-46ec-40c0-8e04-8267029da502_zpsc94fdd37.jpg

This entry was originally posted at http://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/285208.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here; I watch both.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 25th, 2013 06:52 am (UTC)
Thank you! And a very Merry Christmas to you too. May we all cherish a little light at this darkest of the year.
Dec. 25th, 2013 05:18 pm (UTC)
The best to you and your family!
Dec. 25th, 2013 07:13 am (UTC)
Merry Christmas to you!

Thanks for the beautiful, cheerful Christmas tree picture, and for the link to your essay & vignettes which as always I will reread after I've rewatched It's A Wonderful Life this year.
Dec. 25th, 2013 07:06 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked the tree; it's the tiniest one we've had in a long time (and this is probably the only picture of it that doesn't have a cat lurking around the base, looking to climb it. Seriously, with five cats in the house, it's been ... interesting. Heh.)

Dec. 26th, 2013 10:35 am (UTC)
Ha! I'm impressed that the tree survived five cats at all! We had to limit ourselves to a tiny two-foot (fake) tree that we put on top of our tallest bookshelf, just to keep it out of reach of our two little devious destroyers.
Dec. 26th, 2013 07:01 pm (UTC)
Oh, theres been some very necessary policing, but thus far (whisper it) things are going OK. I think as cats get bigger and more inclined to sleep, decorations and trees and such become less apt to be destroyed. Good luck with yours (devious destroyers, eh? Great name ... The Devious Destroyer Duo.)
Dec. 27th, 2013 06:18 am (UTC)
:) Really, they're not so bad. *Usually*, they only destroy things like cardboard boxes that we give them in order for them to destroy. But sometimes...
Dec. 25th, 2013 09:50 pm (UTC)
Merry Christmas, dearest...to you and BB and FB and all you love and hold dear!!

Dec. 25th, 2013 09:53 pm (UTC)
And to you as well, my dear! May these holidays signal wonderful things for you and your family, now and going forward!

Love you!
Dec. 26th, 2013 04:34 am (UTC)
Merry Christmas!

And as my sister said, thanks for the link to your It's A Wonderful Life posts, which we enjoyed last night after all the guests had gone home and everything was pretty much cleaned up, and after we sat back and watched the movie so that Christmas was truly complete.
Dec. 26th, 2013 06:57 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that your Christmas was full and good, and I can't think of a better way to end it. We of the "It's A Wonderful Life" Appreciation Society are very lucky that way, eh?

(And that's a great West Wing icon!)
Dec. 27th, 2013 12:50 pm (UTC)
Fortunate, indeed!

And thanks. I realized just as I was looking for a cheery icon that it's from 'In Excelsis Deo' and therefore quite seasonally appropriate, as well as cheery. :)
Dec. 26th, 2013 10:11 am (UTC)
Oh, It's a Wonderful Life! I love it , I should run to the mini-stories.
Merry Christmas!
Dec. 26th, 2013 06:59 pm (UTC)
I should run to the mini-stories.

Heh ... they're nothing special, no hurry.

Merry Christmas to you, too! I hope yours Christmas was excellent!
Dec. 30th, 2013 05:58 pm (UTC)
Ah! But I am an old hollywood fanatic. Not even in disguise. I cry my love for James Stewart and Capra and silents and all the completely forgotten actors at anyone's face...

Thank you! It was great, thanks. Family and people I hadn't seen in years, it was good.

Have a splendid new year's eve!
Dec. 30th, 2013 06:13 pm (UTC)
Aha - then we have yet more in common! Capra is wonderful, Stewart is wonderful, and my entire family listens every Saturday to a show called Old Time Radio; for four hours we get to hear old radio shows like Jack Benny, Fibber McGee and Molly, Suspense, swing and jazz music concerts, etc. And we are fans of many of the silents, too!

Hope you enjoyed the mini-stories and I very glad to hear that your Christmas was good.
Jan. 9th, 2014 07:47 pm (UTC)
Capra is truly fascinating; first for the powerful, powerful emotions he manages to prompt -first time I saw Mr. Smith, I was a wreck; then for the conflicted picture of happiness and indeed optimism he paints. The Miracle Woman? Lady for a day? the Bitter Tea of General Yen? His heroes are often children at heart, who pay the price for their optimism or simple views - they get a happy-ish ending, but the harshness of the road is not sugar-coated; some scenes of Meet John Doe or You can't take it with you are subtle nightmares.
Old radio shows and jazz! you and your family have great taste. Those are fantastic! I have a link to a site with Old radio plays -Ann Harding and Robert Colman, cary Grant and Greer Garson, this is just heaven. I download them and listen to some on my mp3 -when it is not lost, which it is at the moment.

The mini-stories were fantastic -I especially loved the third one, the insight was striking and so powerful. The article was really interesting as well; I've never thought Capra to be corny, precisely because he has some really harsh sequences; Borzage for example is much more optimistic in the gruesome, but this is pure melodrama... I should stop. Cinema is a dangerous subject for me.
Jan. 19th, 2014 06:16 pm (UTC)
Here I finally get to respond to this lovely comment - first, thank you for introducing my BB and me to some Capra of which we were not aware (the Bitter Tea of General Yen and the Miracle Woman, which we now have, and plan to watch.)

I am glad you liked the little vignettes; writing the third one helped me come to the same understanding that Mary did about George. He really was a homebody. Yes, his wanderlust was real and his sacrifices were thus real - but even had he wandered the world, he always would have thought of Bedford Falls as home, and his feet would ultimately have turned him homeward.

And, no, Capra has never been corny. He's been adult in the best possible ways.
Feb. 4th, 2014 08:48 pm (UTC)
You are welcome! I hope you did enjoy those Capra. They are remarkable, particularly in term of cinematography; it's much closer to silent films. The plot in itself shows quite interesting twists for the time, I think, and definitely for a Capra.

A beautiful description of George's state of mind.

I've never thought so, but it is a criticism that can be found -*coughs* with snub French critics. Do you know Good Sam, by Leo McCarey? It is a small film, very nice, but that clearly targeted -in a not too aggressive way- this very humanist genre explored by Capra and McCarey himself. Nothing spectacular, but Ann Sheridan and Gary Cooper are extremely fun in this.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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