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A few years ago we started collecting Christmas movies. Old movies and more contemporary movies alike. Some make us laugh, pontificate on value of classics, and others just make us feel good in the midst of the “happiest time of the year.”

Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) might create one of the silliest fun-packed Christmases of all with his “brilliant” 25,000 rooftop lights, crazy cousins who just happen to drop by and the exploding turkey.

We watch “Christmas Vacation,” every year.

Another modern holiday movie that sits on our shelf all year is “ELF.” Raised by Papa Elf in the North Pole, Buddy knows he’s different than all the other elves (he’s human). In search of his dad and the place he belongs, Buddy leaves Santa and his workshop to travel to New York City.

Buddy brings joy and laughter to the Big Apple and to his stressed out dad as he lives out the true meaning of Christmas.

“ELF,” was the first DVD I put in the player this season.

What about the black and white oldie, “It’s a Wonderful Life?” Death, angels and life lessons on Christmas Eve. Doesn’t everyone need to be reminded that we aren’t born to be a failure? Or, that no one is poor who has friends?

Another more recent, surely to be deemed a classic, is “The Polar Express.” With train bound children headed to the North Pole, the magical adventure is only for those who still “believe.”

After that epic tale, even I want to believe.

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” in any stylistic form, is a Christmas must watch. The Ghost of Christmas Past scares the bad right out of me.

“The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” reminds me that bitterness creates monsters.

We look forward to the movies of this season, not because they are real stories, but because, somewhere in the middle of each story we hear a narrative that sounds familiar. We see ourselves — our silliness, our attempts to please, our searching for something better, deeper. Something more.

I enjoy the “Christmas” genre of movies but the actual story of that first silent night is my all time favorite.

The great Caesar Augustus ruled the world at the time of the Jesus’ birth. So when he made a decree that everyone register to be counted, they obeyed.

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”

And so it was that Jesus, the infant king, was born into our story... mankind’s story. There were shepherds and angels. There was unimaginable fear and there was rejoicing. A scheming king, seeking wise men, bloody raids and a late night escape.

We don’t own a Christmas movie with a more disturbing storyline or a less likely hero. But this is the story of a God who wanted to love perfectly by getting into the real drama up close and personal.

Truly, it’s messy story and it’s stirring and it’s life altering for those who will believe,“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Larry and Linda Kloster sponsor this column.

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Community News Editor

Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

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