By Mary Kizior
Every family has favorite Christmas movies that its members watch year after year. Because the birth of Christ is one of the most pro-life holidays of the year, it is important to recognize the gift of every human person at Christmas. Family movie night is a perfect way to teach your family that all human beings are a gift from God.
Here at the Culture of Life Studies Program we have put together a list of some of our favorite films that not only share the Christmas message, but that also support the message that every human person is a beautiful gift.
1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
George Bailey dreams of doing great things—traveling around the world, constructing great buildings, and being wealthy—but his life turns out to be very dull and ordinary. His friends become successful businessmen and his brother goes to college while George never leaves town and carries on his father’s business. George’s dreams of leaving Bedford Falls are put aside as he gets married, has a family, and works through the politics of the town against the rich and influential Mr. Potter. One Christmas Eve, when George is at his wit’s end, an angel gives him the chance to see what life in Bedford Falls would be like without him and he learns just how many blessings he has not only received, but has given to others. It’s a Wonderful Life offers a powerful message about the ability of just one individual to change the world.
Download our discussion guide here.
2. The Small One (1978)
When Small One, a donkey, gets too old to carry wood for the family, the boy must take him into the city to sell him. The boy wants Small One to go to a good home, so he spends the day looking for someone who will be kind to him. At the end of the day, the boy can’t find anyone who will appreciate Small One’s gifts. Everyone thinks the donkey is too old to be of any use. But even though Small One is very old, he still has an important job. At nightfall, a kind man asks to buy him for his wife so they can travel to Bethlehem. The Small One is a sweet story that reminds us that each creature is a gift from God and that we all have an important purpose in this life—even if others can’t see it.
3. The Ultimate Gift (2006)
When Jason Stevens’ wealthy grandfather dies, he is given the chance to inherit the “ultimate gift,” but only if he completes certain tasks in the order specified by his grandfather’s lawyer. Jason’s quest to complete the tasks leads him from his bachelor pad in a big city, to a cattle ranch in Texas, to a remote village in Ecuador. As Jason moves through the tasks, he meets new friends along the way who teach him that life, not money, is the “ultimate gift.” The Ultimate Gift is a fun and heartwarming story about finding love, faith, and forgiveness.
Download our discussion guide here.
4. Mary of Nazareth (2012)
In Mary of Nazareth, we see the story of the gospels through Mary’s eyes and can imagine what it must have been like for her to bear the Savior of the world as a young Jewish girl. The film portrays Mary’s earthly trials and sufferings—first as a mother concerned for the welfare of her child, and then as a loving mother watching her son die. An epic film on the life of the mother of God, Mary of Nazareth reminds us of Mary’s full trust in the divine plan and hope in the resurrection.
5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
In this animated classic based on Dr. Seuss’s original picture book, the mean Grinch lives on a mountain, sneering at the Who’s down in Whoville as they prepare to celebrate Christmas. He is so angry at their joy that he decides to steal Christmas—all of the food, toys, and decorations—in the hopes that he can prevent Christmas from coming once and for all. As all the Whos stand hand in hand and sing without any food, toys, or decorations, we understand that Christmas means more than the gifts we receive or the food we eat. In the end, the Grinch discovers that Christmas means a lot more than just material things. Celebrating Christmas is rejoicing in the gift of life for ourselves and our families.
6. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
Santa’s head reindeer, Donner, is very proud of his firstborn son Rudolph. But when Rudolph is discovered to have a deformity—his red nose—Donner is ashamed of his son and makes Rudolph cover his nose when he goes out to play with the other reindeer so that they will not laugh at him. Despite his father’s care, Rudolph is teased and bullied about his nose and decides to run away to the Island of Misfit Toys with an elf named Hermey. As in the popular song, Rudolph’s shiny nose saves Santa’s Christmas trip during the fog, proving that everyone is valuable, even those with disabilities.
7. A Christmas Carol (1951)
On the anniversary of his old partner’s death, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three spirits who show him his life’s past, present, and future—what he will become if he continues caring only about money and ignoring the lives of the people around him. In this Christmas classic, starring Alastair Sim as Scrooge, we are reminded of the incomparable and irreplaceable worth of each person—from Scrooge’s old employer Mr. Fezziwig down to Tiny Tim.
The holidays can be a hectic time of year. This Christmas season, as you spend time with your family, remind them how special they are and how their lives are a gift. Living the culture of life means loving and treasuring the gift of every human being.
Discuss the pro-life themes in A Christmas Carol with this lesson from CLSP!
Show the members of your family how to live out the culture of life during the holidays by forgiving past offenses, seeking reconciliation with estranged family members, and rejoicing in the blessings that each person brings to the family. Let us celebrate this holy season with joy at our Savior’s birth, remembering that He came as a complete gift of Himself so that we might have eternal life.
Mary Kizior is a content developer for American Life League’s Culture of Life Studies Program, which stresses the culture of life as an integral part of every academic discipline. CLSP is dedicated to helping students become effective communicators of the pro-life message. Sign up for our e-mail newsletter to see how we can help you foster a culture of life at home and in school.