Gather Together with Movies & Books this Holiday Season

Somedays in pandemic time, I need a break.  When the days are difficult, I often find myself returning to books and movies I’ve read/watched in the past, there is always something relaxing for me in knowing exactly how a book will turn out, or watching the movie unfold again.  Especially if I only have a couple of hours to relax, watching this movie, or picking up the book and skimming the story always helps me to breath and remember the impact that each of us has on each other.


Set in small town France, a woman and her daughter come in on the winds of change, and set up a chocolate shop during lent in a predominately Catholic town.  The story is classic, but the author’s description of the relationships and interdependency always make me think deeply on the impact that I’m having on those around me.  There are beautiful descriptions of luscious chocolate but the book/movie also dig into difficult topics around abuse, addiction and immigration.  It’s a book that is wonderful for a chilly night with a cup of hot cocoa, or a glass of red wine.  We are a family that talks about difficult topics, and the movie is good for family table discussions.  Change is difficult, but necessary, and this book/movie does a brilliant job of looking at what change looks like from both sides and how each one of us impacts our neighbor.


I started to wonder if there was a children’s picture book that we could read at Thanksgiving to talk about our impact on others, and immediately went to Mo Willems and Amber Ren’s 2019 book Because.  Let it be known that we are big Moe Williams fans, if it’s a pigeon, a pig and elephant or even one of his terribly corny jokes from a squirrel we own it and read it regularly, but this was something different from him.  Usually his books are full of stories of animals laughing and joking together to learn about life and everyday frivolity, but this book was something different and is a delightfully truthful story about the power of music.  It also speaks to what happens when one person reaches out to a child to give them the power held in music and how that can change everything for that child.  Sometimes music is just the voice that a child needs to be safe in an ever changing world.


As we start to bundle up and think more about the long cold nights ahead, each one of these is a step towards thinking about the impact we have on each other.  As we look forward to a time that family life is more normalized, I wonder what effect you will have on other’s lives?  I wonder who God is putting around you, that needs to hear our story of hope?  How do you live out your hope?