Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas (Review)

Paul and I recently had the opportunity to preview Kirk Cameron’s new movie, Saving Christmas. Before I get into my review, I should first note that I have followed Kirk for years. I was a huge fan of Growing Pains as a child and love all the work he is doing for Christ.

However, I should also note that I’m a firm believer that we shouldn’t just try to keep Christ in Christmas, but instead keep Christmas about Christ. I completely agreed with Kirk’s statement in the movie that everything in our homes at Christmas time should point to Christ.

We just disagree on how that all works…

About the Movie

From the producers…

This Christmas, have your family join with Kirk Cameron’s family and dive headfirst into all the joy, dancing, celebration, feasting, imagination, and traditions that glorify the true “reason for the season.” KIRK CAMERON’S SAVING CHRISTMAS is an engaging story that provides a biblical basis for our time-honored traditions and celebrations, and the inspiration to stand strongly against a culture that wants to trivialize and eliminate the faith elements of this holy season. So take in the splendor; take in the majesty; take in the story. Take it all in… and let’s put Christ back in Christmas! KIRK CAMERON’S SAVING CHRISTMAS is in theaters for a limited engagement beginning November 14 for two weeks only!

Official Website: www.savingchristmas.com 

Our Review

In Saving Christmas, Kirk Cameron suggested that when we see a Christmas tree, we see an empty cross. And when we see an empty cross, we see the swaddling clothes that held Jesus as an infant, but couldn’t hold him in the grave. It’s a beautiful picture, however I don’t see it. That’s not what I see when I look at those things, and it’s not what the rest of the world sees either.

What really bothered me about this movie was that Cameron suggested that if you don’t take part in the Christmas “spirit” then you are a jerk. I think that’s pretty cocky. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas. I love celebrating the birth of my Savior (and yes, I know He wasn’t really born in December). However, there are ways to keep Christmas about Christ that make much more sense then the ones suggested in the film.

Let’s take a step back though…

Saving Christmas is set during a Christmas party at Kirk Cameron’s sister’s home. Everybody is having a blast and Kirk is in the spotlight. Eventually, he corners his sister in the kitchen and asks about her husband. She says he’s doing fine, but Cameron presses her and she breaks down, saying he’s just not that into Christmas this year.

Apparently, that’s a huge offense, so Cameron goes looking for him and finds him sitting in the driveway in the car. That’s where they start talking about all things Christmas. Starting off with the nativity, the beloved Christmas decoration that everyone knows is about Christ. Which Cameron says is wrong. He pokes holes in the nativity scene and eventually says that you shouldn’t look at the manger, but the swaddling cloths. Because they are the most important part. Adding in something about the nativity missing the soldiers that were hunting to kill baby Jesus.

This was a huge revelation to his brother-in-law.

However, there are so many uncertainties about the timeline of the nativity story, that I know not everyone would agree with Kirk’s assessment. And honestly, I don’t think that’s the point at all. We shouldn’t look at the nativity as exactly what happened, it’s just a gentle reminder of the reason for the season.

I guess we just didn’t follow Kirk’s line of thought. The conversations he had with his brother-in-law were completely out there and they portrait his brother-in-law as a nut. Not a logical person who had logical complaints about Christmas.

After the nativity, they talked about the Christmas tree being a reminder of the cross (because crosses are made out of trees). And of course, the movie wouldn’t have been complete without the defense of Santa Clause, or St. Nick.

Which brings me to a huge point. This movie is NOT family friendly. The fight scene with St. Nicolas wasn’t something I would let my kids watch. It was brutal and completely out of context. In Paul’s words, “They said he smite him on the cheek, not beat him to a pulp.”

Anyone who knows us knows that we don’t do Santa in our house. Our kids know about St. Nick, but they also know that St. Nicolas Day is December 6th. December 25th is set aside for the celebration of our Savior’s birth, not the celebration of a saint. Including the celebration of St. Nicolas does not point to Christ, but takes away the focus.

Cameron can call me a nut or jerk or whatever other unloving word he can think of, but I will stick by our Christmas celebration. It works for us. It’s fun. We can joyfully celebrate our Savior’s birth without buying into the whole Santa thing.

Saving Christmas won’t Save Christmas.

I know Cameron meant well with this movie. But it was hard to follow and really didn’t provide any logical defense for Christmas. Saving Christmas won’t save Christmas. It won’t help people keep Christ as the center of their holidays. In fact, I believe it will confuse many and lead others to continue celebrating the holiday in a secular way while believing everything is perfect just because Kirk Cameron says so.

Overall, I thought this movie made a mockery of the season. Paul didn’t even want to finish watching it (and he has been excited about it coming out ever since he heard about it). We were really disappointed as we had hoped it would be so much more. There are ways that Christmas trees can honor Christ, but looking at something and calling it something else isn’t the way to do it. I know there are families that use a Santa like figure to point towards Christ, but the historic St. Nick doesn’t belong in the nativity scene.

So no, Saving Christmas won’t save Christmas in a Christian sense. However, it might save Santa, Christmas trees, and guilt for some people who know the way they use these things doesn’t point towards Christ, but they are unwilling to give them up. People who are looking for any excuse not to honor God with their whole hearts this Christmas.

We were very disappointed in Saving Christmas and won’t be recommending this movie to anyone.

 

Don’t want to take our word for it?

Check out Focus on the Family’s review of this film here: http://www.pluggedin.com/movies/intheaters/saving-christmas.aspx

They put it in a pretty perspective, but give more detail on Kirk’s examples. They present the facts without the criticism.

 

Full disclosure: I was allowed to preview this movie by FlyByPromotions (hopefully they won’t boot me from their review program after reading my review).

 

 

7 comments

  1. Lori Halbach says:

    Hi Heather. Are you quoting Cameron here? You said, “Cameron suggested that if you don’t take part in the Christmas “spirit” then you are a jerk.” Then you also said, “Cameron can call me a nut or jerk or whatever other unloving word he can think of…” Would you be more specific about why you say this? That seems out of character for Kirk Cameron. I’m curious.

    • Heather Hart says:

      Hey Lori!

      The word jerk was used. I couldn’t remember the exact quote, so I double checked with Paul. He said Kirk’s words to his brother-in-law were, “You’re being a jerk.” In context, the brother-in-law let his wife throw a HUGE Christmas party, even though he didn’t agree with it, and quietly left so he didn’t spoil it for anyone else. Even if he didn’t have the “Christmas spirit” I don’t think there was anything wrong with his behavior. Kirk, on the other hand, convinced him that there was and sent him to apologize to his wife for being a jerk.

      I found this whole film out of character for Kirk Cameron. Like I said, I’ve been a fan of his for years. He never used the word nut, but they definitely portrait his brother-in-law as a little fruity. I think the movie could have been handled a lot better, but that just wasn’t the case.

  2. Lisa Grace says:

    Growing up in a Wisconsin Synod Lutheran Church, I was taught the “evergreen” tree was a symbol of “everlasting life” promised through the Savior.
    I’ve stressed the messages given by the angels to our child (first to Mary, then to Joseph) but most of all to the shepherds to “Rejoice, for unto you….a Savior is born.” (yes, I paraphrased.)

    So, though I now attend a Messianic Synagogue, I still rejoice (at the wrong time of year) our Savior’s birth. Too bad the movie doesn’t get into all the Biblical commands to rejoice.

  3. Kathleen says:

    I read this review. Just want to say I disagree with it.

    • Heather Hart says:

      That’s totally okay, Kathleen. There are very mixed reviews about this movie. Do you mind letting me know which part you disagree with? I included a lot of facts and opinions.

  4. TJ says:

    I chaperoned a field trip to that movie with my son’s class at a Lutheran school. I totally agree with your review. If I hadn’t been in the theater, I would have looked up the history of St. Nick to verify the accuracy. I didn’t follow the soldier story line and I was shocked by the storyline of the fall into sin. Adam ate the fruit and the only way to redeem himself was to put it back on the tree. The fruit was inside of Adam so he couldn’t therefore Jesus had to put it back on the “tree. I didn’t appreciate the encouragement to be materialistic for Christmas.

    I think it would have been more appropriate to say that the Evergreen is a symbol of Eternal life and the Tree of Life.

    • Heather Hart says:

      Thanks for chiming in, TJ. It’s good to know we weren’t the only ones who didn’t appreciate this film. I’ve taken a lot of slack for my view, but we hold to it. There were a lot of ways this movie could have been handled that would have brought glory to God, I just think they missed the mark. And I completely agree that the encouragement to be materialistic for Christmas was very disheartening. I couldn’t remember exactly what he said about it at the end of the movie, so I chose to leave it out of this review, but I remember being dumbfounded that a Christian movie could be so far off base.
      Heather Hart recently posted…Gospel ScripturesMy Profile

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