Category Archives: Movies

Joyeux Noël and the Death of War

Since I wasn’t able to attend a memorial service this year, I decided to observe Remembrance Day by watching a couple of movies that bear witness to the sacrifice and suffering of those who fought on behalf of their countries. One of these movies was Joyeux Noël. This film joyeux_noelwas particularly good at portraying the hardship and anguish of soldiers in the trenches of World War I. In this story, three generals — German, French, and Scottish — along with their units, are brought together by the celebration of Christmas.

In the dreary dark of Christmas Eve, a German officer who before the war had been a vocalist in Berlin, sang “Stille Nacht” (Silent Night). Close by in their own trenches, the French and the Scots listened to the hopeful song of the German singer. The Scots joined in with their bagpipes, and soon, all the soldiers left their trenches to meet one another in peace on the battle field.

There they shared stories of home and tears for loss they had already incurred thus far in battle. Many even exchanged addresses with the intent of taking up friendship again once the mess of war had ended. At the high point of this meeting, the Scottish priest led the who assembly in the Christmas midnight mas. Participating together, they were no longer enemies, but fellow men who were all here by the same unfortunate circumstances, forced into combat by the will of their homelands. This was a really striking picture of peace that can come by love in Christ — even in the midst of war.

During the mas, the artillery fire booming in the distance reminded all that though they might forget war in the moment, the war had certainly not forgotten them. At this, they exchanged greetings of “Merry Christmas” and “good luck,” and returned to their trenches.

One of the most memorable scenes is one in which the German singer-now-soldier confronts his general, asking if they must go on to kill again now that they had truly come to know those they had regarded enemies. He said, “To die tomorrow is even more absurd than to die yesterday.” How foolish it would seem, having now experienced the peace of Christmas Eve, to die by the hands that offered friendship only the night before?

This war was to be the War to End All Wars. But really, going to war can’t truly cause the end of war. The only thing capable of ending war, as was so grandly demonstrated in Joyeux Noël, is the peace that comes through love in Christ. Let love be the foreign policy that guides nations in their dealings with one another. Let love be the ‘war’ that is fought, and it really will be the War to end all others.

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Living Offline – perhaps not a bad idea

The other day I watched the fairly new movie, “Surrogates,” in which everyone in the world experiences life through these machine-bodied surrogates, while the ‘operators’ remain in the safety of their homes.

I watched it because 1) I like science fiction and 2) Bruce Willis stars. I liked the movie. It had enough twists to keep you guessing, and the action was fairly strong throughout.

The most impacting line of the whole film, for me anyway, was spoken by the antagonist after he reveals his sinister plan to destroy the machines. He says, “Human beings weren’t meant to experience life through machines!”

How very true! When computers were created, they were to save us time (and paper), but nothing seems to consume our time each day quite so much as our many electronic devices. When I think about how many hours I spend on a computer when I have some spare time or a day off, I think I’d be embarrassed to reveal the number. I’m grateful for much of what I can accomplish from my home computer, like communication with people far away, online banking, purchasing books and other items, and even searching for journal articles and things like that. But everything in moderation. The ease with which anyone can administrate their life on a computer, on the internet, is helpful. But if a person’s use of these things isn’t managed or moderated, it can easily become a colossal waste of time.

No wonder people back a century had such greater knowledge of things like philosophy, Latin, and Greek. They had no ‘time saving devices’ to eat up their every day.

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