Los Angeles -- As we get around the business of preparing for the Holidays you've really got to wonder what the fuss is all about. Sienfield called it "Festivus For The Rest of Us". Some on the other hand refuse to acknowledge anything less than Christmas and with all the pomp proclaim it the celebration of the birth of Jesus the savior of the world.
We are not here to delve into the identity of Christmas. For some it is a Door Buster sale. For others it is a time of reflection on the year that's passing us by. I for one am a true believer in Christmas.
The Christmas I knew was a Christmas of giving. It was a time of sharing and renewing bonds frayed by the ever demanding strains of a social fabric stretched to the point of fracture, were it not for a child born to a Jewish couple in a dingy cold stall in a village that went by the name of Bethlehem, our yoke would not only be bent by the fierce weight of our misery, but would eventually be broken by the years of neglect and self pity.
Growing up back East outside of Washington DC, we indeed had a few White Christmases as we gathered together as a family and watched the Bing Crosby-Danny Kay flick of same name, each settled in their favorite spot.
I loved to lie on the floor and do a marathon of some of the most beloved movies of all time. "A Christmas Carol" was tops on my short list of favorites along with "Its A Wonderful Life" in my opinion our Christmas Carol. We would also watch "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas" from the Gospel according to Lioness. I tended to identify with Charlie Brown not Lioness.
I thought it would be fun to watch some of those shows again. I am sure you can download many versions from YouTube and other social media sites. But it just would be nice, humor me here, to offer you a couple of the most endearing films on giving and forgiving that have stood the test of time.
As you gathered I am a fan of Black and White movies. I just like the feel and look. They seem to be charcoal sketches of life that resemble our memories as we paused to reminisce and ponder days gone in a quandary's search for meaning and value. Maybe a slight exaggeration. But one founded on truth I tell you.
The two you are about to see are as close to the spirit of what Christmas means, at least to me. The Spirit of Forgiving Love especially Forgiving of Ones Self.
Self Forgiveness here in Hollywood is a rarity if I do say so. And I do. But it is a necessity that none can do without. If you were to count the number of injuries others have done to you, you just might go ballistic. But count the number of injuries you have done to others, and I bet the imbalance of self righteous indignation would calm down to a balance of tolerance and forgiveness.
For the other part of the Golden Rule is Forgiving Yourself You Forgive Others and in so doing others will Forgive You.
So here is Scrooge, the 1951 version, which is considered by critics and public opinion the finest filmed version of Charles Dickens classic story of forgiveness and redemption, and my other favorite Christmas story that taught me "No man is a failure who has friends": It's A Wonderful Life.
Indeed it is a wonderful life. Merry Christmas from My Hollywood Journal and a very prosperous and happy start to a new year to all of us.
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