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The season of Advent is tonally dulled, a time characterized more by patience, waiting, and perseverance than by the kinds of climactic action scenes we see in most Hollywood movies. With that in mind, here are a few movies to watch before Christmas rolls around.

To Kill a Mockingbird
During Advent, we wait for and ponder the incarnation. It’s the most profound example of active and personified empathy the world has ever seen. The climax of To Kill a Mockingbird is characterized by active and sacrificial empathy, when Scout finally understands and comprehends her father’s own commitment to “stand in someone’s shoes and walk around in them.”

Children of Men
The timing of Advent in Scripture is remarkably late. It comes after years and years of silence from the heavens, a time when things would seem hopeless if God’s promise were not still hanging in the air for anyone who bothered to look for it. Children of Men shows us a bleak, violent world where no one is able to have children. It’s a world throbbing with longing, desperate for answers to questions they never thought humanity would have to ask. And in the end, a faint glimmer of hope?

Paddington & Paddington 2
Paddington Bear is not like us. He is too good, too innocent, too forgiving for our world. Yet he feels in all the same ways. It might seem like a stretch, but this fish-out-of-water tale gives us a small taste of what it might be like to be on the outside looking into a dark, fearful world. Paddington’s purity acts as a stark contrast to a world without goodness and light. In the end, it points to the story of a pure, innocent babe who would one day grow up beyond Paddington’s own unassuming stature into a full-fledged Savior.

To be lost in space serves as a profound metaphor for the human experience, especially when one’s own existential need is in clear view. That image of a human being twisting and floating outward, far away from anyone who can help, resonates so deeply with us because of our own human state. We’re all grasping whatever we can find to stop us from coasting further away from safety. But our grip always seems to slip. Our only hope, ultimately, is for Someone to catch us.

Though the connections to Advent may not seem obvious at first, these movies will help you get into the same mindset that the waiting and watching Israelites might have had just before the full Messiah story came to life before their eyes.

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