This is the irrational season, when love blooms bright and wild. Had Mary been filled with reason, there’d been no room for the child. Madeleine L’Engle
Most of us have a favourite Christmas movie, one you haul out every Christmas holiday season. Sure, part of the reason for Christmas movie watching is to disarm tense and awkward family dynamics during Christmas, but some of it is to enjoy a sense of wonder. In our house, along with the annual Lord of the Rings extended version movie marathon, the top Christmas flick is Millions. Christmas is meant to be a season of wonder and this movie will get you into that space.
Flowing from the beautiful imagination of director Danny Boyle, Millions is a quirky, lovely film that invites you to see the world through the eyes of the main character Damian, to view things from his child-like, faith-filled imagination – which is mostly the very thing I need to keep my faith alive and agile.
The story centers on the young Damian Cunningham, whose cardboard fort is smashed into by a duffel bag full of money (watch the movie to find out more of that story). Convinced it is a gift of divine generosity, Damian dreams up ways of stewarding it for the sake of the poor. However, his brother Anthony has an entirely different understanding of the money, purchasing goods, favours and attention as well as plotting out how to maximize returns on the funds.
Damian is an emblem for the child-like faith Jesus urges in his followers. His world is populated by the communion of the saints (great scenes with various saints especially the martyrs of Uganda), rooted in his robust belief that God exists and is working everything together for good. He’s so open to grace and miracle. But it’s not childish – there’s a sturdy resolve in him, an awareness of the suffering of the world and a commitment to live out grace in that place. It’s a beautiful world Damian lives in – the enchanted world-view of Christianity that produces a generosity of heart, a joy in self-donation.
At the end of Millions we see Damian’s vision for generous living and giving come to life. Damian and his family crawl into his cardboard fort/hermitage and are jettisoned off to another place were we catch sight of a different world through the child-like eyes of grace.
During the final scenes, Damian narrates: “This is my story. This is where I want it to end.” If it was his brother Anthony’s story, it would’ve ended differently. But Millions is Damian’s vision for life, something closely connected to the Christmas impulse of self-donation, where streams of living water flow freely.
Millions is the story of our life, the story of Christmas, where we have been sent millions, treasures from heaven, infinite, lavish grace in Jesus. And the question for us is how are we going to steward that treasure? How do we want to see this story end?
Hope you have a chance to see it, enjoy the lovely wonder of Damian’s faith-filled vision for life, and continue writing the story of Christ’s vision for this world.