“Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32 (NRSV)
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive.”
Sir Walter Scott
This “feel good” holiday romantic comedy was made in 1945 and the greater part of its setting resembles a Currier and Ives lithograph. Barbara Stanwyck portrays Elizabeth Lane, who writes a column for the magazine Smart Housekeeping, chronicling her life on a Connecticut farm with her loving husband and baby. These details of her life along with her celebrated cooking skills are entirely fictional. The trouble brews when her boss invites himself and a decorated war hero, played by Sydney Greenstreet and Dennis Morgan respectively, to her home for the Christmas holiday. With the help of a longtime suitor, Elizabeth is able to keep her secret a little longer and to keep up the charade of a “Christmas in Connecticut,” for some time before the truth comes out.
I have loved this film since the first time I saw it and it has become one movie that I want to view again during the holidays. It is filled with laughs and holiday cheer. The only obvious religious aspect of the film is Dennis Morgan singing O Little Town of Bethlehem. So we need to look deeper. In spite of the physical pretenses she has created, Elizabeth’s past does catch up with her. The time comes when she admits the truth to others and faces it herself. And wonder of wonders, “the truth sets her free” to begin a life she has envisioned for herself … a life of love and true happiness.
Lord, You are the way, the truth and the life, and that knowledge is so comforting when we have wandered away or been led astray, when we have been tantalized by falsehoods and when we have accepted less than the abundant life You offer. Forgive the errors of our ways. Keep us mindful that Christmas comes wherever we may be and we may share the joy of Your having come with others. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.