The Gift of Christmas: Helping Others Is Loving God (Movie Review)

John FarrellBy John Farrell5 Minutes

“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).

As Christians, we are drawn to help others. It’s the right thing to do. It’s what Jesus would do.

Whether you donate items to a thrift store, work at a soup kitchen, give someone on the street the coat off your back, give someone a ride, donate money to a worthy cause, or reconnect two individuals, helping others is a Christian virtue we should all embrace.

For George and Denise Barnett and George’s brother, Allen, helping others is in their blood. The three of them are at the heart of the sweet and inspiring movie, The Gift of Christmas.

George (Jeff Prater) and Denise (Jenn Gotzon) love helping others so much that when they notice Don Ford (J. Barrett Cooper) hasn’t been at church recently they decide to check in on him. Upon arriving at Don’s house, George finds that Don isn’t interested in having any visitors. He’s been struggling since his wife’s death and is now estranged from his only daughter Celia, which is news to George.

After getting into a fight with her dad, Celia (Marissa Ghavami) moved from Kentucky to California. Because of their strained relationship the two haven’t spoken in months.

Hearing this news, George and Denise intervene. George calls his brother Allen (Nathan Todaro), who is also in California. Allen hasn’t been back home to Kentucky in years, but has recently been considering making the trip. When George talks to Allen, he asks him to search for Celia to try to convince her to come home to visit her father.

When Allen is finally able to track down Celia, she initially rejects the idea. She has no interest in reconciling with her dad or traveling with someone she doesn’t know, especially since he plans to drive rather than fly. After she’s evicted from her apartment, with very little money and nowhere else to turn, she agrees to join Allen on his cross-country trip.

Knowing that Allen is headed home with Celia in tow, George shares the good news with Don who tells him to leave. Just like Celia, he has no interest in reuniting with his estranged daughter.

On their long drive home, Allen stops at different organizations, such as soup kitchens and thrift stores, to either help out or make donations. They also make sure to “stop and enjoy the roses” by enjoying the beauty and wonder of God’s creation along the way, quoting “And the mountain [peaks] belong to Him” (Psalm 95:4 NIV) and “Through Him all things were made” (John 1:3 NIV).

As they become more comfortable with each other, Allen and Celia begin to open up. Allen tells Celia about his relationship with the Lord and the struggles he’s had with his own faith. He knows, however, that he will be okay because of the presence of God in his life. He also explains to Celia why he helps those in need whenever the opportunity arises, prompting her to ask, “Am I one of your good deeds?” He replies, “You’re one of George’s good deeds. I’m just here to give you a ride and stimulating conversation.”

Meanwhile, Denise’s parents surprise her by informing her that they’re coming to stay with them over the holidays. There’s one problem though: George and Denise’s father don’t always see eye to eye on things.

To add even more frustration to the holiday craziness, Denise has agreed to lead their church’s holiday program. In any other year, this would be a rather low-stress commitment with nothing to worry about. However, the lights keep cutting off during rehearsals due to shoddy electrical work and the church choir’s soloist just moved away.

The Gift of Christmas is a heart-warming and entertaining family-friendly film that shows how helping others can have a huge impact on everyone.

What will become of Allen and Celia’s cross-country adventure? Will Celia mend her broken relationship with her father? Will George and his father-in-law finally learn to get along? Will the Christmas program go off without a hitch?