Wednesday, December 30, 2009

An Avonlea Christmas

A couple of nights ago, Jonathan had a guy's night out with a good friend of his. They went to go and see a manly movie, of course. I used the opportunity to watch An Avonlea Christmas! I'd been saving it to watch during the Christmas holidays and it seemed just as good a time as any to relax with the King family. It had been a few years since I had seen it so I vaguely remembered this particular movie but had forgotten a lot of the details.

I have talked about my, ah hem, love for the Road to Avonlea series before and so I was eager to watch the "cast reunion" in the form of a Christmas story. In case you haven't seen it, don't worry - I won't give any spoilers. I'll speak generally.

Suffice it to say that it is set during World War I and Felix, son of Alec and Janet King, is off at war. You find out right at the outset of the movie that Felix is listed as missing in action and the rest of the movie relates to how the family is acting and interacting as a result of the news.

Watching An Avonlea Christmas when you are a teenager is one thing. Watching it after you have children (and friends' relations serving in the military!) is quite another. In other words, it was a good movie to watch when Jonathan was MIA because I could cry freely. Heh.

Now, let's do be clear about one thing: I would have cried over this movie regardless of Felix's status. I would have cried just because I was watching Avonlea again because I really love this cast of characters. I've loved watching them grow up from the age of 10 and then making friends with each other, suffering, experiencing the joys and happiness of life on a beautiful and magical Island, getting married and exhibiting emotions that are easy to identify with (now more so than ever!).

I think, after watching this Christmas special this time around, I feel most impressed by Janet King. Janet is dealing with emotions surrounding a son who is potentially never going to come home. All she knows is that her son whom she loves is out there somewhere, and she is powerless to do anything for him. She is subject to governments and wars and cannot do anything but internalize it and learn to accept her new realities. Meanwhile, she has good old Aunt Hetty harping on endlessly about being brave and doing one's duty and putting on a good face for the community, yadda yadda yadda. (You have to like Aunt Hetty but she really does place unreasonable expectations on people who are honestly suffering.) As Janet tells her mid-lecture, at the end of the day, with this particular attitude, all Hetty is going to have is her honor and duty but that will be really lonely. Janet feels and I think she does a marvelous job portraying the emotions of a mother who isn't losing herself all over everyone but really is feeling great anguish. Janet's own family doesn't really understand where she is at when she is facing the potential of losing her son. She is in a very lonely place. She really is wrestling over her feelings of love for Felix and her ability to trust that all things will turn out well in the end. It is a very difficult internal struggle.

I spent the whole movie thinking about the book Choosing Gratitude (click on the title to read my review). It reaffirmed my statements that no human being (talking about honor, duty and what have you) can change a person's heart and heal their wounds. No person can speed another person's recovery and bring them round to being a humble human once again. No amount of beating people over the head to slap a smile over a wounded heart is going to change anything at all. It will just strain relationships. That's all that it will do, barring a miracle.

But then in steps Alec, Janet's husband, who acts the redeeming savior role to her. He comes to her humbly, confessing his own pain. He reminds her that bitterness is the hardest on the person carrying it and he encourages healing in her. She succumbs to warmth and love. Yes, she still hurts but it is through understanding and mutual tears that any healing comes to be. It was a beautiful picture of what God does for us when we are hurting. He says he knows the pain. He says he understands it and He doesn't expect us to explain it, because He knows we can't. He even says it's understandable and ok. And then He helps to work you through it. Marvelously done and I thought this movie portrayed hurt and healing very well.

Perhaps An Avonlea Christmas doesn't sound like the cheeriest sort of movie. OH but it is! It is about life, laughter and living with people that I enjoy being with. (Overly obsessive? Perhaps. But let's not go there.)

Again, if you haven't had a chance to watch the Road to Avonlea series, I recommend them to you. Yes, there are hiccups and hesitations along the way in the series and I don't like every single episode. But I do value and appreciate about 98% of the series and have so many good memories of it that I intend to enjoy it for many years to come. If I ever have a girl you can pity her. It'll be over before it ever begins. But I promise not to name her Anne. (Mostly because Jonathan won't let me. We've already had that discussion.)

Here's to girl's movie nights, sometimes best spent alone with a box of Kleenex and a heart that is working towards gratitude.


Annette W. said...

UGH! They are $80 a season. Goodness gracious! But oh, you inspire me to find a way! I have read one of the King books. Maybe it's time I read some more!

Stephanie said...

Oh, I LOVE the Avonlea series!!!! I am anxiously waiting for them to come down from their ridiculous price so that I can pick them up for the girls. I can't remember if I have seen the Christmas episode or not, but I guess I am now going to have to look into it! :)

(And, oh yes, if we have another little girlie one of these days, Lord willing, Anne is a top pick for me! I've had three girls and still haven't gotten an Anne yet!)

Renee said...

I haven't watched the Avonlea series yet but I'm going to look into it; the movie as well ~ it sounds wonderful!

apple blossom said...

Yes, this was a wonderful movie. I listed it on my site in my Five Fave Friday posts

My daughters and I also watched the
Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning

last Monday. It was good too. Different than the way the books tell it.

Islandsparrow said...

Oh my - I'm sure I've seen this before - but you make me want to watch it again.

Happy New Year from the magical Island :)

Sky said...

I get it on Netflix. It takes forever!!!! I am NOT looking forward to the whole WWI right now.... I might skip that bit. I really don't need any more war stories for my head.
LOVE Road to Avonlea!

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

One of our local libraries has the whole series, I think. I've been thinking it would be a good way to spend my spare moments (ha!) in January, in honor of the LMM challenge. I loved it growing up, too.

Stephanie Kay said...

I don't think I've ever watched this series. No Anne-with-an-E?! I'd love to name another daughter Anne (though I think at this point we would go with Rebecca Marie but that's a whole other subject). :)

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