**This post contains Affiliate links please see Disclosure Policy**
Family Movie Night is always a highlight in our home. We get excited as we hear and smell the popcorn popping. Sometimes we even get a little crazy and put candy and chocolates in our salty snack. The kids can hardly wait to press play. We really do enjoy a good family movie.
But what if Family Movie Night could be more than just popcorn and entertainment?
What if we could use the movies we watch to spark conversations with our kids about Christian spirituality?
This week, I am so happy to be working with another guest blogger. Brad Klassen is a writer, storyteller, and public speaker. His passion is to bring the Bible to life for all ages and help others grow in their walk with Jesus. This week, Brad shares with us 6 movies that you could see with your kids and have some interesting dialogue with after the credits start rolling. You can receive his parenting PDF called 17 Ways to Grow Your Child’s Love for Jesus here.
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
(Liar, Lunatic, Lord)
This adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ classic brings the world of Narnia to life. There is a great scene where Peter and Susan meet with the Professor to talk about the younger two siblings, Edmund and Lucy. As they discuss the issue of the stories being told, they have a great conversation about logic. Through it, they determine that if Lucy is not a liar, and she is not mad (ie: a lunatic), then logically she must be telling the truth. It is a great visual of how we can logically confront misbeliefs about Jesus in a defense called Liar, Lunatic, or Lord. Many people believe Jesus was a liar. Others believe Jesus was a lunatic, or crazy. Yet, through a logical search of the gospels, one can see that neither is true. Therefore, logically, Jesus must be who He says He is: Lord.
This movie and conversation may be more appropriate for kids a little older (around 9 or 10), as that is the general age when they begin to be able to understand this a little better.
You may want to start the conversation by simply asking how your child felt when Peter and Susan didn’t believe Lucy and see how they respond. You can then transition into a discussion on how similar it is for believing in Jesus.
In their lifetime our children will come into contact with doubters. This is a great way to equip them to know that what they believe is very logical.
(Faith like a child)
This Pixar animated movie is about two worlds: one being the monster world (or the monster reality) and the other being the human world (or the human reality). Both worlds exist, but it is only when Sully accidentally allows a child into the monster world that the two come face to face and have a greater impact on each other. It is subtle, but the movie also accounts for the fact that as the children get older, they are less impacted by the monster world.
Same goes for our world and the spiritual world. Both are real. Both impact the other. But it takes the faith of a child to truly see the one.
In Matthew 18, Jesus’ disciples are asking who is the greatest in Heaven. In response, Jesus brought a child into the inner circle of adults and said:
“unless (they, adults) change and become like little children, (they) will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3, NIV, brackets mine)
What a great reason for us as adults to enter into a child’s world and ask them how they see the kingdom of God.
This can be a great bridge to discuss how even though we can’t see Heaven we can know it is there. Then we can ask the question of how we can get there: to have full trust (like a child) in the One who gave us away.
(Being the child of royalty)
This is the modern version of the old tale of Rapunzel. The premise is that the kingdom’s princess has been taken by a woman who raises her as her own. As Rapunzel grows up she does not know how deceived she has been until she discovers her real identity and to whom she really belongs. It is only after she gains this understanding that she also gains her true freedom. This movie can lead to a conversation with your kids about not believing the Deceiver and know that, as children of God, they are children of True Royalty.
Our enemy would love nothing more than to destroy our sense of who we are: that we are children of God, created in His image. He does this through deception, twisting of the truth, and outright lies.
In his gospel, John writes this to let the reader know to Whom they belong:
“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12, NIV)
Our kids carry too many negative thoughts about themselves. Let’s, as parents, speak into their lives to remind them that they are not only ours but more importantly, they belong to the King of kings.
(Spiritual gifts and how we need each other)
In this animated superhero flick, the Parr family seems to be a normal family living in the suburbs. The only difference is that they all have superpowers. Through the choices and consequences they face, they learn that the only way they will win in the end is if they work together. This is a great starting point for talking with your kids about spiritual gifts and how God gives them as He desires.
We all have a desire to do something amazing in our lives. As believers, God has given all of us different gifts. We need to help our kids discover how God has wired them and what gifts He has given them. Then teach them to be a part of the Body of Christ (the Church). This is where their gifts will grow and they will be a part of something bigger than themselves, and bigger than this life.
Paul writes it this way in 2 Corinthians 12:11:
“All these (gifts) are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” (NIV)
God gives each believer gifts, even children. Let’s show them that by working together, we can accomplish a lot for God’s kingdom.
(Greater love has no one than this)
In this winter wonderland, we find the story of two sisters who journey through grief, power, separation, love, and, ultimately, restoration. The ultimate climax of the story comes as the younger sister sacrifices herself in an act of true love to save her sister. This is a great picture of how Jesus, not wanting the separation between He and us, pursued us and gave Himself up for us so that we can know His ultimate act of true love.
In John 15, Jesus is encouraging His disciples just before going to the cross. As He pours out His heart for them, He tells them that
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13, NIV)
Then He went on to actually do that. He laid down His life. For them. For us.
Jesus knew what He was doing when He went to the cross. It was His choice.
“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.” (John 10:17-18, NIV, emphasis added)
Our kids need to know that when Jesus laid down His life for us, He showed us what the ultimate act of true love is.
(God looks at the heart)
This is a feel-good, heartwarming story of a little girl who befriends a Big Friendly Giant. As they first meet, she has a lot of fear, and rightly so. Soon she realizes he is not who she had thought him to be, but he is also not who the other giants want him to be. Both she and the other giants had judged him from his outward appearance and assumed who he was in his heart. Just like these characters, we as humans too often judge from outward appearances. This can be a great introduction to talking with your children about how God doesn’t judge by what is seen, but by what is unseen: the heart.
In 1 Samuel 16, the prophet Samuel is sent to Jesse’s house to anoint the next king of Israel. When Jesse’s oldest son comes forward, Samuel is excited and ready to anoint him, but God puts the breaks on that thought.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (2 Samuel 16:7, NIV)
After Samuel has seen all the sons there, he asks if there was anyone else. That’s when David comes into the picture.
David wasn’t invited to the party.
His own family didn’t see what he would be one day.
But when Samuel saw him, God declared
“Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” (2 Samuel 16:12, NIV)
Even though David was described as a handsome young man (2 Samuel 16:12, NIV), it was his character that God saw.
We live in a world where appearance determines too much for our kids. We need to teach them that, even though there is nothing wrong with looking good, it is the character they have in their hearts that should define them.
Of course, there are many more movies that could be used this way. My challenge to all of us is to revamp Movie Night and see where the conversations can go.
What is your favorite movie that has a deeper meaning?