You may just find it in the starry wonder of a sure-to-be NEW movie classic…
Max Lucado’s The Christmas Candle…
Deep in the heart of English countryside lies the village of Gladbury. Legend has it…every 25 years an angel visits the village candlemaker to bless one special candle…
In 1890, a flame of hope is lit from one to another to another…and what is about to happen is the most astonishing Christmas the people of Gladbury can even imagine as the whisper comes…
“Light this candle and pray… “
I was watching moviegoers emptying a Florida Preview Premiere of Max Lucado’s new film, The Christmas Candle, one night a few months ago on TV — Rick Santorum and other associates of the film awaiting comments outside.
People thronged the exit doors with faces alight, the way I remember crowds coming out of music premieres of my youth, like Funny Girl and My Fair Lady and Thoroughly Modern Millie. On feet light as air. These viewers hadn’t just seen a musical of course…but there was music in the photography and setting and heart, shining in their convivial chatter.
“This movie has the feel and hope of a classic in the tradition of Its A Wonderful Life,” exclaimed one exiting viewer after another. Not in the sense that it is the same story theme reinvented, they explained. You won’t find George and Mary or Mr. Potter in the script. (Though… in a way… maybe you will.) But the indefinable something of Capraesque movies that have become part of our yearly Christmas heritage – it’s there.
I didn’t quite believe it… They just don’t make movies like that anymore.
Mm…Yes, Virginia. They most certainly do.
With the warm voice of a narrator inviting us into the legend of Gladbury, The Christmas Candle instantly transported me into the 1890’s streets of London and on to a Cotswold village like the opening lines of a Dickens novel…
Where we meet David, a young minister once reputed for his powerful sermons but now heart-worn by overwhelming loss.
A somewhat jaded young woman who scoffs at faith, especially old legends that are keeping her town in the dark ages (so she believes).
A husband and wife (played by Susan Boyle) who cherish the old church, filling the nave with hymns of hoped for miracles and holding tradition dear.
And a quirky candlemaker and his wife, reminiscent of charming character actors beloved of magical films of the 1930’s… like the angel Clarence...
Gladbury is a village delightfully peopled with such characters who are characters in that wonderful old Victorian manner Dickens so masterly drew for us in word picture. (The likes of McCawber and Pip and Copperfield could very well be hidden behind quaint cottage doors.)
Struggle…sorrow…difficult times and simple joys abound in this quintessential town. Much as they do in our hard economic world today. But this is the year of their candle – surely a miracle will renew their land with the hope of it! Once the well-meaning new minister arrives with his modern ideas setting him against the candlemaker though – will their hope be preserved or dashed? Is their faith simply in – a legend?
Beautifully filmed (and acted) in the English Cotswolds, there is a glow about the images in this movie that brings to life what a reader of old Britain has always imagined.
- The warmth of the century-hewn stone church, with its beautiful stained glass windows up front, the well-worn hand-carved pews, the candles that line and light the room…
- The glory and heart of a single voice raised in a stirring new hymn of praise called The Miracle Hymn, lifting the hearer to sacred.
- And a fun cameo moment when author Max Lucado appears in period butler costume – for barely a second – like Alfred Hitchcock signature to his movies. (Shh…Don’t blink, and you will spy him as one who opens a mansion door from the inside… 🙂 )
Most of all, there is the kind of Holy Spirit breath of hope that wafts in and through this movie and into your own spirit. Candlelight…
Certainly, there is a bit of fantasy. But overall… there is Truth born of the Savior in a Manger, still reaching out to our manger-hearts today. And I see His Heart in every clever metaphor Max Lucado weaves for us in this warm and magical tale.
If there is any “flaw,” it would only be that I couldn’t quite figure out how a certain character came to be in the time and place they were near the ending… but what does it matter, for their being there led to a wonder to behold!
Not just for Gladbury-ians.
But for all of us…touched by His Own Christmas Candle.
And… By all of the promise of the Advent Candles…
Looking for a Christmas Miracle?
Don’t…don’t… let this one pass you by.
© Pam Depoyan