As mentioned last December, when it comes to memorable Christmas movies, it’s hard to leave ‘Home Alone’ off the list. The charm, the music, the shenanigans, stir in some holiday vibes and family flavor, and it’s no surprise the film has stood the test of time.
Yet, while the success of Home Alone would ultimately inspire a carbon-copied cash cow sequel, having recently revisited Home Alone 2, it’s worth noting the life lessons embedded in its baggage (pun intended).
Thus, in the spirit of extending tradition and diving into yet another Chris Columbus movie, here are three underrated life lessons inspired by ‘Home Alone 2’…
- Keep your heart [pure]…
In this exchange, Kevin and the pigeon lady are in a loft above Carnegie Hall where she explains her mid-life crisis following her lover’s departure.
After admitting relational apprehensions, Kevin suggests she starts trusting people again. Having confided in her, Kevin then shares of past misbehaviors before accepting the pigeon lady’s advice to create good tidings in their place.
For a movie needing to convey a universal message yet remain politically correct, I’m not opposed to this moment of improbable dialogue. That said, if I’m in Kevin’s shoes, I’m not saying, ‘keep you heart open’; rather, I’m likely substituting something less vague like ‘clean’, ‘pure’, ‘vigilant’, etc.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” ~ Psalm 51:10
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone* from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” ~ Ezekiel 36:26
“Keep you heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
To be fair, the way Kevin uses ‘open’ here is worth some benefit of the doubt. Generally, when we use the word in similar fashions, we’re encouraging someone not only to take inventory of fear, but to count the cost of courage. Still, while Kevin’s advice is admirable for a ten-year-old, I submit had he been more specific and defined certain truths she should be open to, he would have better helped the pigeon lady move on from her past…
…which brings me to my first point…
…if we’re going to employ goodness, why superficially deliver it fearing we may be wrong or intrusive? Not to suggest we disregard decency and modesty, which organically come as we’re led by the Spirit; however, if we’re content in preserving shallow forms of goodwill, are we not reflecting a subtle version of what we long to see people free from?
As one can relate to the pigeon lady (i.e. the paralyzing effects of crushed dreams and unpruned fears), all I know is whatever love I give or receive…I want it to pierce something…be it pain, confusion, anxiety, whatever. After all, God will take care of my options, but as for you, I just want to see you be brave and, at least, consider telling me something I may not know and/or need to straight-up hear.
Bottom line: If you’re going to encourage someone to keep their heart open, don’t end the sentence with ‘open’. In this way, you’ll charge your encouragement as a springboard rather than a sugarcoated fortune cookie.
*Bonus points to Kevin for this line: “If you’re not going to use your heart, then what’s the difference if it gets broken?” A heart of stone, whether intact or shattered, is still stone.
- Know why you battle
It’s hard to ignore your favorite scene in a post like this. Even if it wasn’t, you got to admit the first 36 seconds of this clip, as ex machina they may be, pump the adrenaline.
Yet, before the movie’s climax can commence, consider how the scene starts…
Interesting, how the clip starts with the Star of David. Granted, this makes sense given the song’s lyrics…
Distant stars, at home up in the heavens.
Wonder what they see, are they watching me?
Christmas Star, you spin your strands of silver.
What a sight to see, are you there to guide me?
Star light, shine bright.
See me through the dark night.
Light my pathway;
Guide me home for Christmas Day.
Still, it’s refreshing to see how a symbol of Christ’s birth helped ignite this sequence.
First, you have a Star of David helping harness Kevin’s attention onto an ill peer. From there, Kevin is reminded while he’s still lost in the most populated city on earth, there are others less fortunate worth fighting as confirmed by his battle-cry…
“You can mess with a lot of things, but you can’t mess with kids on Christmas!”
To sum up this scene, if we stop and consider the broken around us, it’s not long until we’re reminded why we battle against evil schemes (Ephesians 6:11)…why what we protect is worth protecting. Kudos to Columbus for somehow capturing it all in only half a minute!
Bottom line: Perspective matures our vulnerability into mobility. If we want to fight the good fight and overcome evil with good, don’t just ponder the good, bask in it.
- Dove the one you love
For this one, I’m not so caught up in the actual clip as much as I’m reminded how much deeper turtle-dove significance is in the Bible. A quick systematic overview reveals turtle-doves are more than sentimental emblems. Rather they demonstrate the beauty of sacrificed innocence (Old Testament), passionate devotion (Song of Solomon), imminent healing/thanksgiving (Hezekiah), and prophetic divinity (Gospels).
If you ask me, turtle-doves are underrated when we reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. True, we sing of them frequently every time we come to the second day of the ‘Twelves Day of Christmas’ carol; however, if we zoom out and consider why turtle-doves have any Christmas connection at all, we find reason in their physical and symbolic splendor represented in Creation to Noah…all the way to the Cross. In essence, they are a genuine reminder that Jesus is the reason for the season and in Him, a) God is pleased and b) we can know true peace and goodwill.
Bottom line: Doves capture the sweet aroma of incarnational love.
Cover photo creds: The Daily Edge