Tag Archives: guardian angel

My Top Five Christmas Movies

This Christmas season, I have watched a top twelve Christmas movie list on television, and read at least two other Christmas movie lists online.  There are probably a hundred or more Christmas movies to choose from when making such a list, but if you look closely, most of the lists contain the same twenty to twenty-five movies.  Usually, the only difference between list A, B, or C is how those 20+ movies are ranked.  However, my Christmas movie list is different in two ways: (1) it only lists the top five Christmas movies of all time, and (2) it is based entirely on my preferences and opinion.  If you agree with my top five movies, fantastic, and if not, it’s too cold to go jump in a lake, so instead, go watch your favorite movies and forget mine.  Here are my top five movies beginning with number five:

#5        How the Grinch Stole Christmas:

The story is about a green creepy/goofy looking monster who hates everybody including himself.  He sets out to steal Whoville’s Christmas, thinking by doing so, he will take their joy from them.  Of course, he is wrong.  His only salvation is Cindy Lou Who, who manages to thaw his cold heart and bring happiness to his dismal life.  As a child, I enjoyed the thirty-minute animated television special that aired at Christmas every year, but when Jim Carrey brought the Grinch to life on the big screen, I was amazed all over again.  The movie version with its occasional naughty innuendoes was made as much for adults as kids, and it succeeded on both fronts.  Jim Carrey’s over-the-top performance was fun to watch, and the visuals were stunning.  Simply put, the movie looked, acted, and felt like a holiday classic.  It did not disappoint.

#4        Elf:

I am not a big Will Ferrell fan, but his role as Buddy in Elf was exceptional.  I am not saying exceptional in an Academy Award sense, but extraordinarily fun and entertaining for kids and adults alike.   As a human raised by elves at the North Pole, the role of Buddy fit Ferrell like a glove.  His trademark off-the-cuff antics, which are sometimes hilarious, but often just miss the mark, were perfect for his role as a lovable human-elf in search of his identity.  His innocent childlike behavior in a world of Christmas commercialization was funny, charming, and magical.  Elf is a holiday classic that should be on everyone’s watch list.

#3        A Christmas Story:

One of my all-time favorite holiday movies is A Christmas Story!  The story, set in the 1940’s, centers around Ralphie and his quest for a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.  Throughout the story, everyone he turns to for help to get the gun, even Santa Claus, tells him, “You’ll shoot your eye out.”  Based on a story by Jean Shepherd, the movie is a trip back in time before X-box, PlayStation, Star Wars, and cell phones.  It was a time when kids played outside, and watched Westerns on television where the good guys and buy guys fought for supremacy with six-guns and lever-action rifles instead of laser swords.  In A Christmas Story, Ralphie faces school bullies, learns the horrible truth about secret decoder rings, has his mouth washed out with soap for saying bad words he learned from his father, and through it all, never loses sight of his perfect Christmas gift.  This movie is a slice of life from a bygone era, but it contains everything that makes Christmas special – family, memories, and the spirit of being served Chinese duck for Christmas dinner.  The kids may not fully appreciate the significance of playing outside or getting “double dog dared,” but this is a Christmas movie the whole family should watch together.

#2        The Polar Express:

The number two movie on my Christmas Holiday list, The Polar Express, certainly deserves the honor.  The movie stars Tom Hanks and is filmed in “performance-action animation,” which results in a breathtaking movie spectacle.  Hanks and the visual beauty of the film are reasons enough to see it, but I simply love the story!  The story is about a young boy who is beginning to doubt there is a Santa Claus, and on Christmas Eve catches a mysterious train, The Polar Express, to the North Pole.  On the train, he meets other children like him, a sometimes-cranky conductor (Tom Hanks, who also plays several other roles in the movie), and a hobo.  One of the most visually impressive scenes in the movie (there are many) is the singing waiters.  The first time I saw the movie at home, I stopped the video at least three times to watch that scene again and again; it is simply amazing.  Although Santa Claus appears in the movie, the movie is not about Santa.  The Polar Express is about bravery, friendship, and the spirit of Christmas!  It is a classic that should be shared yearly as a family tradition.

#1        It’s a Wonderful Life:

The Christmas movie that tops almost everyone’s list is It’s a Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed.  It is the perfect Christmas masterpiece for the holidays.  The story is about an ambitious young man who sacrifices his dreams to ensure the dreams of others.  Continually hounded by miserly Mr. Potter, George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) fights for the right of his neighbors to live a good life, and not struggle in the squalor of Potter’s tenant houses.  Unfortunately, life does not always treat even the best people fairly, and after a disastrous incident, George wishes he had never been born.  With the help of a guardian angel, George learns how his life has impacted the lives of people he loves, and they are not complete without him nor is he complete without them.  It’s a Wonderful Life has sacrifice, redemption, salvation, friendship, angels, and triumph over evil.  It is the root for the good guy, boo the bad guy, feel good movie of all time regardless of the season in which it is watched.  It is the movie that shows us how to get our wings.  It’s a Wonderful life is the epitome of the Christmas spirit; therefore, it is my number one Christmas movie of all time!

Whether you have a Christmas list of your own, or use one someone else has put together, the bottom line is grab someone you love or want to make friends with, and pop your favorite Christmas movie in the DVD and share the Christmas spirit.  I double dog dare you!

Merry Christmas,

JL

©Jack Linton, December 22, 2017

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My Guardian Angel and a Root Beer Float or How to Count Your Blessings

When was the last time you stopped and offered your guardian angel a root beer float and a huge prayer of thanks?  If you are like me, the answer is probably never.  My guardian angel has been very good to me, but I have done absolutely nothing for her in return other than take her for granted?  I am thankful beyond words for all the times she has saved me from near disasters; yet, I have failed to say a simple thank you.  Like many people I get so caught up in all the negatives going on in the world that I lose sight of the blessings in my life.  I focus my attention on negative events and negative people who do not mean a hill of beans to me.  When I should be counting my blessings, I find myself worrying about things the network news or some person with their panties in a wad on social media tells me are important.  But, that is not their fault; the fault lies with me for allowing them to make me a willing participate in their misery.  I could turn off the television or disconnect from social media, but I am too afraid I might miss something.  However, I am ready for a change.  No, I am still too afraid I might miss something to turn off the television or social media, but I have resolved that I am going to reserve at least one day each week to celebrate my blessings.  If I don’t, I’m afraid my guardian angel will leave me, and then where would I be?

One of the best places to begin any celebration is by celebrating America.  As Americans, all of us should have something we can be proud of and thankful for – right? Unfortunately, that is not necessarily the case.  Too many Americans today would rather bash our nation than sing her praises.  We have become a people with few qualms about giving credibility to the haters and the doomsayers who continually disrespect and tear down our country.  I understand we no longer live in the America of thirty, forty, or fifty years ago, and that everything was less jaded, dripping in honey, and just plain homey and nice back then, but damn people there has got to be something we can be thankful for today.  I know it’s hard to be thankful when every day we are confronted by name callers, bigots, conspiracy theorists, doomsday preppers, our way or the highway fanatics, limp wrists banana eating liberals, conservative left wing socialists, butt headed right wing elitist, sh#!* for brains instigators, bean heads, dope heads, “namby-pamby” do-gooders and a conniving government set on enslaving the people.  I hate to say it, but it is really hard to celebrate America when the news and social media constantly tell us that America is a really crappy place to live.

But, is it really?  Where else in the world can people worship as they please without persecution and fear of physical harm?  Where else can people speak for or against the government with equal guarantees of expression without oppression?  Where else in the world can regular people get a free public education with a chance to someday own their own business and home?  Where else in the world can law abiding citizens own firearms without fear of imprisonment?  Where else in the world do regular people have enough expendable income to blow on frequent trips to McDonalds and Walmart?  Where else can people go to sleep at night knowing they are protected by the greatest military machine in the history of the world?  Where else in the world can not only the wealthy but regular folks have money to take vacations at the beach and Disney World? Where else in the world can people jump in their vehicle and drive anywhere in the nation without first getting permission? Where else in the world do citizens have the right to elect their leadership and then openly criticize them and call for their removal from office without fear of arrest and imprisonment?  This list could go on and on, but the point is that as Americans we have a lot more to be thankful for than we have to gripe and complain about!  So, why do we spend ninety percent of our energy focusing on the dirt, the misguided ignorant, and the haters?  We should be climbing on rooftops and shouting, “I am a proud American, and I love my country!”

Lately, I hear more and more talk about climate change and the earth getting warmer, but the biggest climate change I see in America is in the people.  Everybody is hot under the collar about something these days.  We are hot because someone offended us!  We are hot because someone said something that was not politically correct!  We are hot because someone dared express themselves in such a way that we do not agree!  And, we are just plain hot about being hot because that has become the norm in America.  We complain about politicians who do nothing for the American people; we complain about the economy; we judge and condemn people for their religious preference, sexual preference, flag preference, political preference, the color of their skin, the shape of their eyes, the language they speak, and even what they eat and drink and where they live.  Maybe, if we stopped judging and worrying about everybody else and started concentrating on making ourselves a better person, we might actually change some of the things we gripe about.  Maybe, America would become a much cooler and calmer climate in which to live.

On some of these issues, I may be as guilty as anyone, so I am going to make a change.  I am going to initiate a “Count Your Blessings Day” one day each week.  On this day, I am going to ignore the negatives and pay special attention to my blessings, and I am going to start with my guardian angel.  I am going to give my guardian angel that long overdue root beer float and prayer of thanks.  I am going to say thank you for allowing me to be an American, and for being at my side when I need you.  I am not going to ask for anything; I am just going to say a simple THANK YOU prayer!  I am not talking about one of those long over the top “sermon within a prayer” prayers. I am not talking about one of those prayers where I map out a list of problems and issues I would like for God to resolve.  I am not going to ask to be protected from, saved from, or delivered from anything.  I am simply going to thank God for his blessings and thank my guardian angel for keeping me safe and out of trouble.  Maybe, if I start being more thankful and less needy, God will be more inclined to answer my prayers.

Having a “Count Your Blessings Day” each week may not dramatically change the world, but it will make me pause and give thanks for all my blessings including being an American. In spite of this country’s many faults and problems, it is still the greatest country on earth. We just need to stop complaining for a while and make time to reflect and be thankful we are a part of it. Yeah, I like that; one day a week where I concentrate on the positives and not the negatives. That’s a plan! I can’t wait to join my guardian angel for a root beer float; I think we both deserve one.

JL

©Jack Linton, September 6, 2015