What’s Pastor Kevin Watching: Christmas Episodes!

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I have been working on a few posts about all kinds of things and none of them have come together all that well.  So instead I bring you something appropriately seasonal!

Over the last week my wife and I have been revisiting some of our favorite Christmas specials on Netflix.  While there are some great Christmas classics for the big screen (White Christmas anybody?) the small screen has produced a wonderful amount of quality holiday spirit!

Below are some of my favorite Christmas episodes.  This list is by no means exhaustive but these are some I have enjoyed this year that I thought you might as well.  (The links are to the IMDB pages)

Scrubs Season 1 Episode 11 “My Own Personal Jesus”

Carla doesn’t believe in Jesus but her new boyfriend Turk does.  J.D. gets stuck working a nightmare shift.  It is all redeemed when a sick woman finds out that she is giving birth to a baby and Turk has to follow a God given star to find her in the park!

 

Frasier Season 5 Episode 9 “Perspective on Christmas”

This isn’t just the best Frasier Christmas episode, it might be in the running for best Frasier episode.  Martin gets stuck singing “O Holy Night” in the Christmas pageant but he can’t hit the high note.  Frasier accidentally tells Roz’s mom that Roz is pregnant.  Niles gets stuck on top of an elevator.  Daphne thinks Martin is dying.  Frasier’s Christmas present is to tell everyone just how much he loves them and why.  When they protest, and in a great punchline to the episode, Frasier calls up a masseuse!

The West Wing Season 1 Episode 10 “In Excelsis Deo”

The President buys books at a used book store.  C.J. finds out her secret service code name is “Flamingo” presumably because she looks like one and Donna wants skiing equipment, only to get an old used book about skiing.  But this episode shines because Toby uses his White House clout to arrange a funeral for a homeless veteran.  A frustrated President chides him by saying, “Do you not think every veteran in the country will now be asking us for a funeral?” Toby disarms him with one line, “I certainly hope so, sir.”  Oh and Mrs. Landingham has her best scene of the show by telling us about her twin sons who died in Vietnam.

Doctor Who Season 6 Christmas Special “A Christmas Carol”

I am not a huge fan of any of the Doctor Who Christmas episodes except for this one.  A grumpy planet owner refuses to let a spaceship land, endangering everyone’s lives.  The Doctor revisits all of the owner’s past Christmases to find out why he is so grumpy.  Due to the timey-wimey stuff, it turns out the Doctor is to blame but in the end the Doctor convinces him to save the day.  This could have been just one more of the countless riffs of “A Christmas Carol” but it manages to be very fresh and heartfelt.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Who can keep themselves from mentioning the classic of classics?  What more needs to be said except Charlie Brown saves Christmas by ruining it.  Although 50 years later it is saddening that this show did nothing to actually change consumerism from devouring Christmas.  In that vein, a certain South Park special is also worth noting.  .  .but not watching.

So there you have it.  I accept your gratitude for filling up your Netflix queue for the next couple days!  You can suggest other favorites in the comments below.

And Merry Christmas!

 

 

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Some Thoughts about Red Cups and Red Nosed Reindeers

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The Christmas lights are the snow! #mindblown

Personally I am offended.  The Christmas I grew up celebrating was all about snow.  That was the object of worship in Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”.  That was the scene plastered all over every Holiday storefront window.  That was the scenery which Rudolph traversed to save Christmas.  And who can forget
that wonderful snow storm when George Bailey discovered what life would be like without him.  Snow is what Christmas is all about, which is why I have started wishing everyone a “Merry Snowiday” or a “Merry Snowmas” depending on their religious 
preferences.

Nothing says Christmas like snowmen with teeth! This way they can chew the Christmas ham.

So when Starbucks issued a statement saying that their Christmas cups will no longer feature snow, I was offended.  I wasn’t offended for any religious reason.  I’m just mad that nobody called me and asked what I wanted on my Snowmas cup.  After all, besides snow, December (or Snowmember) is all about me.  It is about what I want, what I get, what I give and how often I feel the Snowmas spirit deep down inside my body.  If somebody from the evil Starbucks corporation had called and asked me what to put on snowiday cups, my answer obviously would have been those evil snowmen from Doctor Who.  I watched that episode a week or so ago and it was the last time I felt the Snowmas spirit.  It would appear those lousy liberals at Starbucks don’t think Snowikah should be about me any more.

Before the internet we didn’t know how stupid people were.

Of course, I am not the only one offended this season.  It turns out my entire Facebook feed is offended because someone somewhere is offended at the Starbucks cups.  Yes, this particular crisis is so “meta” that we are offended because others are offended.  And, yeah, this post is even more meta as I am expressing my disapproval of those people who are offended because others are offended.

I am not actually offended, nor do I care about what some crazy guy who wouldn’t even have an audience in the non internet age thinks about Starbucks cups.  And the cups themselves don’t offend me.  Nor am I offended by the millions of people who flocked to Facebook to say, “I’m not them!”

However, I do wonder if there are other, more crucial areas in our life when we over react to overreactions like we all overreacted to this.  I wonder how often we do it in our marriages, our families, our churches, our business places, our politics.  After all, any therapist will tell you that when someone is yelling at you they are not really yelling at you and what they are yelling about isn’t what they are actually angry about.

Instead they are yelling because they feel marginalized, invisible, misheard and they think you, or the entire internet, may be a safe place to become visible again.  If that is the case, then by overreacting to their crazy, you become crazy.  After all, you are the one telling the marginalized person how stupid they are.

So instead I have learned that the solution is to ask great question like, “Why do you think those Starbucks cups set off an angry rant inside of you?”  “What is it about crazy people who don’t like Starbucks that makes you run to the internet to let everyone know how crazy they are?”  “Why does the absence of snow during the holidays leave you miserable inside?” “Should we say Happy Snowmas or Merry Snowidays or just sing ‘Snow, Snow, Snow’ from ‘White Christmas?'”  “Are all snowmen with teeth evil or just some of them?”  “How great was that Doctor Who episode?”

These questions open up dialog which leads to understanding which helps with self awareness.  And our world needs so much more of those things, especially during this glorious Snowmas season.

Happy Snowidays!