A Christmas Carol and the Power of Art

Art has the ability to inspire us and captivate our imaginations like nothing else can. You experience this when seeing a particularly powerful film, where the story and characters take you to a different emotional place. Whether viewing a classic like Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life or a current movie such as Martin Scorsese’s Silence, you are affected viscerally in a way only art can prompt. A painting can be transcendent as well. Henri Nouwen was so moved by Rembrandt’s visual interpretation of The Return of the Prodigal Son that he wrote a book based on the impressions he saw in the work.

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Barenaked Ladies, U2 and Coldplay Celebrate Christ

Barenaked Ladies, U2 and Coldplay Celebrate Christ

 

This year, like every year, there are lots of “Christmas Songs” on the radio.  Many, if not most, essentially tell the story of Christ’s entry to the world and what it means.  So there you are in Bath and Body, Nordstoms, or Home Depot – and bam – on comes the Barenaked Ladies with God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen:

God rest ye merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Saviour
Was born upon this day;
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray.

[Chorus]
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy!

From God our heavenly Father
This blessed angel came;
And unto certain shepherds
Brought tidings of the same;
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by name.

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A Christmas Carol

It seemed inevitable that Robert Zemeckis would eventually dig his meat hooks into Dickens’s 1843 novella, and that Jim Carrey would play several roles in it, including literature’s curmudgeon par excellence, Ebenezer Scrooge. The book is teeming with cinematic possibilities. One can almost picture Zemeckis, chief practitioner of the 3-D performance capture technique known as mocap, eyeing it like a Christmas goose. Mocap is one of those contentious cinematic developments that seems to divide people into various camps. One camp will explain how it allows visually creative directors to maneuver the camera however they like within an abstract space, and is therefore a useful tool, akin to the Steadicam or the greenscreen. The other camp will maintain that the process is too easy, that it makes a mockery of traditional animation, and that it can’t replicate certain movements, especially those that don’t adhere to the laws of physics. There is yet another camp that takes the moral high ground, arguing that it has an almost satanic dehumanizing effect, turning actors into weird facsimiles of human beings and stifling any meaningful drama.  
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Redemption

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

- 2 Corinthians 5:17

God bless us...everyone. 

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