In my last BLOG, I highlighted a selection of hymns that have been featured in major films. I have decided to extend this to the Christmas season, which is without a doubt the number one holiday in the United States, to truly intersect the religious and secular sectors of our population.

As with most of our non-liturgical seasonal rituals, (gift giving, Santa Claus, hanging of the greens, candle lighting, decorating, etc.) there is the influence of the true heart of this most joyous time of the year.

The same is true of caroling! This noble tradition began when the poor would perform for the rich in order to receive donations of gifts, food, and drink. Caroling then in some ways helps us remember to give back to those we love and those who have less than us.

Even non-Christians are familiar with these melodies and will find themselves singing along when the holiday spirit rises within them. At parties, family gatherings, and most prominently in holiday movies (Silent Night has been played in over 254 motion pictures) these classic carols are included to extend this spirit to all. This legacy of song helps connect us to one another and cultivates in us a shared spirit of peace and hope.

Just for fun, here are a handful of carols featured in popular films: (Note: We are using a very broad definition of the term “carol” for this fun musical treasure hunt. Also, please heed this warning, many uses of carols in modern film are for less than sacred purposes).

• The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) — “Deck the Halls”
• It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) — “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”
• Home Alone (1990) — “O Holy Night”
• The Bishop’s Wife (1947) — “The First Nöel”
• The Santa Clause (1994) — “Carol of the Bells”
• Gremlins (1984) — God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”
• Christmas with the Kranks (2004) — “Joy to the World”
• Love Actually (2003) — “Good King Wenceslas”
• Joyeaux Nöel (2006) — “O Come All Ye Faithful”
• A Christmas Story (1983) — “Silent Night”
• Christmas Vacation “O Come All Ye Faithful
• Gremlins- “Do You Hear What I Hear”
• Three Days of the Condor (1975) “Good King Wenceslas”
• The Long Kiss Goodby (1996) “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”
I have left many notable examples off with this little list hoping that we can share you best memories of cinematic carols on our FACEBOOK page.
God bless us everyone!
Jonathan Martin

Jonathan Martin received a degree in Interdisciplinary studies from Naropa University with an emphasis in World Religion and Psychology. An accomplished writer his lyrics have been set to music by composers such as Brad Nix, Victor Johnson, John Purifoy, Jon Paige and his father Joseph Martin. Jonathan lives in Austin, Texas.

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