3 Underrated Life Lessons from ‘White Christmas’

One of the most revered holidays classics, ‘White Christmas’ is a timeless, cinematic confection rich in star power, memorable moments, and, of course, incredible choreography.Granted, the plot is forced, trite, and over-reliant on ex-machinas and sing-along potential; however, this doesn’t mean the movie lacks savory dialogue.

Like most Christmas movies, ‘White Christmas’ shrewdly embeds life lessons within its narrative. Yet, while the picture may be more known for its entertainment value, one can find more meaning behind the scenes upon further inspection.

Thus, in the spirit of going behind the curtain, here are three underrated life lessons inspired by ‘White Christmas’.

1. Phil Davis: “My dear partner, when what’s left of you gets around to what’s left to be gotten, what’s left to be gotten won’t be worth getting, whatever it is you’ve got left.”

Bob Wallace: “When I figure out what that means I’ll come up with a crushing reply.”

For those unfamiliar with ‘White Christmas’, your two male protagonists, Phil and Bob, are polar opposites. On one hand, you have Bob who is cautious and cynical; on the other, you have Phil who is audacious and whimsical. With salt and vinegar personalities, it’s not surprising to see the two collide in witty discords at inopportune moments. Yet, while Bob is the more discerning of the two, it’s Phil’s risk-taking gall and persuasion that puts Bob in position to find what he’s looking for. As this clip reveals, when Phil calls out Bob as diffident to companionship, the stage is set for Bob to consider Phil’s words…and, of course, advance the plot.

Bottom line: If the best time is now/if the better judgment involves the riskier road (Ecclesiastes 11:1-6), that doesn’t make it wrong. 

2. Bob Wallace: “So if you’re worried and you can’t sleep, count your blessings instead of sheep.”

I’ve never been a fan of counting sheep. I remember as a little kid, I found the practice obnoxious and futile. Seriously, what could be more obtuse than tallying one of the most naive creatures in existence? However, as an adult, I’ve discovered the antithesis, specifically why counting blessings is one of the most refreshing exercises one can engage.

For while our mental computations (what we need, what we don’t have, etc. ) often lead to discouragement as opposed to thanksgiving, when it comes to what we’ve been divinely given, we have ever reason to remember and relish; hence, why this scene is so powerful. For Bob, counting blessings was not only a catchy jingle, but also a contagious habit contributing to his sunny demeanor and those around him.

Bottom line: If there’s anything worth counting in life, it’s your blessings (Psalm 103:2). 

3. Phil Davis: I think it’s ridiculous , impossible, and insane!”
Bob Wallace
: “Anything else?”
Phil Davis: “Yes, I wish I’d thought of it first.”

When it comes to helping others, we tend to operate within our means. While some tailor their gameplan to bandwidth and what they deem doable, when it comes to a giving heart, the best approach always seeks generosity by going beyond what’s possible. This truth alone is why I love Phil’s reply to Bob’s question here. For starters, you see maturity in Bob’s character for daring to give big. In addition, you note Phil and Bob are more in sync from being united for a special cause. Fittingly the storyline changes as both characters commit their decisions to helping someone else. Had Bob and/or Phil continued being overly concerned with their career pathway, they likely would’ve missed the chance to honor their friend’s legacy.

Bottom line: We only have what we give. So why not outdo each other in doing good (Hebrews 10:24)? Not only will this enliven your other-centeredness, but it will also stretch your capacity to give.

Bonus: Betty Haynes: [singing on the train] “I wanna wash my hands, my face, my hair with snow.”
Phil DavisBob WallaceBetty HaynesJudy Haynes: [singing] “... And may all your Christmases be white. Merry Christmas!”

As a lover of winter and all things snow, it wouldn’t be right if I left off a quote or two from the movie’s long list of wintry references. Here’s to these lines being prophetic during the next few months in middle Tennessee.

Cover photo creds: Cinematic HD Wallpapers

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