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A CHRISTMAS STORY: FILLING THE HOLE


One of the most popular films [of this season] is a little vignette set in the 50s called A Christmas Story. In the plot, young Ralphie sets his heart on an air rifle for Christmas, enduring ridicule and scorn in his quest for this gift he believes will make him happy. In the end, he has his toy weapon, and falls asleep on Christmas Day with a smile on his lips.


So what does this tale, which doesn’t even envision Ralphie’s family going to church on Christmas, have to do with our high religious purpose today? Everything. Ralphie was looking for happiness. We know he saw some goodness in that little BB gun. He saw himself as a secret agent, decoding Ovaltine messages from the radio, as a valiant cowboy defending his cowering family from violent thieves. He even assumed the role of hero for a moment, and, despite his size and cowardice, gave a good thrashing to the real villain of the film. In other words, Ralphie wanted to be a hero. He was really looking to fill up the deep hole he felt in his life.

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