Friday, December 13, 2013

The Christmas Candle

by C.J. Chase

My first subject for this post was going to be a review of a Christmas-themed novel I had picked up a week or two ago. Fortunately, given the busyness of the season (both the season of the year and the season of my life), I had a backup plan ready to go in case I didn’t finish the book. Since I’ve just about made it to the halfway point, let’s talk about a Christmas movie instead. J

On Sunday, I rode the church bus to a local mall—with the youth group (brave, brave C.J.)—to see The Christmas Candle, a movie based on the Max Lucado book. This is a blatantly “Christian” Christmas movie—no Santa Clauses or elves or reindeer to be had, and the only angelic activity is very subtle. The main character is an Anglican minister, and unlike what one finds in much of modern Hollywood fare, he’s
the hero, not the villain.

If you like period pieces, this is definitely the holiday movie you should see this year. The town of Gladbury, England, is the home of the “Christmas candle.” According to legend, every 25 years an angel touches one candle in the local candlemaker’s shop. If the recipient of this one special candle lights it and prays, God will grant the petitioner a miracle.

As one might expect, there is no shortage of people who feel they need a miracle: a lonely spinster, a mute boy, a blind man. But is the candle supernatural—or is this all just superstition?

Discouraged clergyman David Richardson is convinced the candle is just so much hokum that creates false hopes. Newly arrived in Gladbury after working in London with the Salvation Army, he determines to show the town that God doesn’t want them to wait for a miracle but to be His hands and feet. Of course, while teaching the people of the town to reach out and help each other, David gets a lesson or two about miracles and hope himself.

The costumes are fabulous. Okay, I admit I’m partial to the late Victorian bustle back gown. And if you are a fan of British period movies (like yours truly), you will recognize many of the actors from productions such as the Hornblower series and the BBC’s North and South. (Um, no, sorry, neither Richard Armitage nor Ioan Gruffydd. But you will recognize some others.) However, I’m glad I went with the youth group rather than taking the family because our youngest (6-year-old boy) would not have been able to sit through the gentle pacing and focus on internal conflicts. Parents with squirmy little ones should probably find a sitter.

This movie released over Thanksgiving, but it is still playing in my area. Hopefully, you can find a showing in your region, but if you want to see it in the theater, don’t delay.

Yes, as the critics have pointed out, the movie is sentimental and predictable. (I doubt I’m offering much of a spoiler if I tell you the baby is born on Christmas. When you see a very pregnant woman in a Christmas movie, you know how that plot thread going to end.) Hey, it’s a Christmas movie. What do you expect, really? If you want a swearing, dope smoking Santa, look to Hollywood. But if you want to leave the theater with a smile and a sense of peace on earth and good will to all, this will be just right.

Do you try to see the new Christmas movies each year? Do you have any favorites, particularly lesser known ones that others might enjoy?

After leaving the corporate world to stay home with her children, C.J. Chase quickly learned she did not possess the housekeeping gene. She decided writing might provide the perfect excuse for letting the dust bunnies accumulate under the furniture. Her procrastination, er, hard work paid off in 2010 when she won the Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Manuscript and sold the novel to Love Inspired Historicals. Her current release, The Reluctant Earl, is now available  in online bookstores. You can visit C.J.'s cyber-home (where the floors are always clean) at


  1. I haven't heard of this movie, C.J.. Thanks for sharing and though I probably won't go to the theater, I will make a point of watching it soon. (Probably when it's on DVD in June!) Sounds like it will become a holiday classic.
    You had me a bustle, Hornblower and Max Lucado!

  2. What? No Richard Armitage? I want my money back!

    Oh, wait.

    Okay, this looks wonderful. I will definitely watch this, but probably on DVD.

    Thanks so much for letting us know about it. :)

  3. Thanks for reviewing it, CJ. It looks like one I'd enjoy watching and I hadn't heard of it, either.

    Not sure if we can see it up here, but I'll be on the lookout for it as one of our holiday family outings.

  4. I'm looking forward to watching White Christmas.

  5. Sorry, everyone. Christmas party in kindergarten this morning, and then he came home with me. Which means, I've been pretty much tied up since 9 this am. Did I mention this is a busy season of my life?

    I didn't realize so many hadn't heard about this movie. Glad I posted about it after all. And Dina, will you still like me if I admit White Christmas has never been one of my favorites? Don't ask me why. Just never had that magic for me.


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