Thursday, December 19, 2019

Christmas Jars - Movie Review

Watch Christmas Jars - Free Online Streaming
This time of year I am looking for inspirational movies in keeping with the true spirit of Christmas.  I love stories with heart, so when I came upon Christmas Jars, I knew I had found my kind of holiday movie.

Based on Jason F. Wright's New York Times bestselling novel, this film is for anyone who appreciates a focus on kindness, generosity, hope, forgiveness, compassion, and family.

As the movie begins, Hope Jensen, a 22-year-old aspiring writer is going through really hard times. Just when she is at her lowest, Hope discovers that someone has left a jar filled with coins on her doorstep.

The mystery of who committed this random act of kindness grips Hope.  She goes into full investigative journalist mode in her quest to uncover the perpetrator of this anonymous generosity.

Of course, there are twists and turns along the way, for that is the nature of life, and a good holiday movie.  Hope does find the beautiful individual who left her a gift much bigger than a sum of money.  Things become complicated, however, when she must choose between protecting the identity of her benefactor or achieving the long-awaited dream of publishing the feature that skyrockets her career.

This isn't a spoiler review, so I am being careful not to reveal too much.  Let's just say there will be elements of romance and finding what you have always needed.  In wrestling with her moral dilemma, and coming out on the other side, Hope experiences the power of compassion, forgiveness, and chosen family.

Though the movie is associated with a faith organization, there are no religious overtones.  It is simply a wholesome family film that can be enjoyed by all.  Originally released in November of 2019 as a special one-night theater event, Christmas Jars recently made its debut on television.  Both the original novel and the movie have spawned an ever-expanding kindness movement.  Millions of dollars in spare change has been collected and distributed to individuals in need.

In conjunction with seeing the movie (I've provided you with this link to watch it for free online), I encourage you to visit the Christmas Jars website to be moved by the personal stories of recipients of that kindness.  There is so much goodness that often goes unreported by the news networks.  I found that these true stories were a reminder that it is the small acts of love that change the world for the better—one person at a time.

As I was working on this review, and doing my own Hope-esque search for the backstory behind this movie, and the phenomenon of the Christmas Jars, I discovered something really wondrous.  The author of the book, Jason F. Wright, actually started the tradition of the Christmas jar with his wife and young children back in 2004.

When they were looking for a new family tradition that would make the holidays extra special, they decided to place all of their spare change in a jar throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas.  Then, they would select someone—an individual or family—who needed some encouragement.  That first jar contained about $88.  On Christmas Eve, they crept up on the chosen family's porch, placed their jar of coins by the door, rang the doorbell, and then ran to hide behind some bushes.

Here's where it gets really good.  In 2005, when Wright's book was first released, and had not yet achieved NYT bestseller status, he found himself downsized at work and a bit financially strapped.  It was at that moment when someone anonymously left Wright and his family their very own Christmas jar.  The tradition had gone full circle.  How beautiful is that?

It may not seem like much, but as you will read from the testimonies, a Christmas jar can be miraculous to the one needing a miracle, or a reminder that they are seen and loved.  I am filling my own jar of coins even as we speak.  On Christmas Eve, I plan to leave someone a little bit of tender loving kindness.  For what are the holidays if not a time to be a messenger of hope and light?











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16 comments:

  1. This sounds like a movie that I would like. I love watching inspirational movies, especially during the Christmas season. What an amazing story behind this. I'll be looking for this one, Thanks!!

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    1. It will be a good movie for your entire family, Sam. I, too, love to watch, or read, stories that will inspire me to be the change I wish to see in the world. I hope you enjoy this film. Merry Christmas!

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  2. I've always been a big fan of 'random acts of kindness' for they show the goodness inherent in people overall. Thus, this movie Christmas Jars immediately appeals to me. Thanks so much for your delightful review, Diana.

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    1. Yes... random acts of kindness are expressions of the very best in each of us. There is so much goodness in the world, but it often gets overshadowed by the junk that pulls us down. I love filling my mind and heart with goodness and light, so I seek out examples of the very best of humanity. Thanks for your visit and comments. Always appreciated!

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  3. It sounds like a beautiful movie and book. I do enjoy stories that are based on real life experience. This world definitely needs to be touched by kindness right now. What we read or see in the news is very distressing and depressing. I would much prefer to read about someone who shares the gift of kindness. It takes so very little to be nice to someone else, yet often has a huge impact.

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    1. I, too, really enjoy movies, and books, that are based on true stories. I didn't realize the film was based on something the author had done, and experienced firsthand, until I was writing my review. That revelation made the story even more touching. As you mentioned, I think it is the little acts that make the biggest difference. People are so stressed this time of year. Every little kindness goes even farther.

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  4. Oh Diana I can feel my heart growing bigger just reading your review. This sounds like the kind of movie that moves people into action. We need more of that, for sure. Thank you for this review and a delightful new holiday tradition that I hope many families will incorporate into their Christmas giving!

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    1. Thank you, Olivia. I love how Christmas Jars has created such a loving kindness movement. Everyone who touches those jars (giver and recipient) is blessed. My intent is to start this Christmas and continue the outreach for many future holiday seasons. It is such a simple way to lift up spirits.

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  5. Sounds like a wonderful story, reviewed by a wonderfully kind person. Thank you Diana for all you do.

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    1. I appreciate your kind comments, Mary Beth. Very uplifting... the story and your affirmations.

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  6. Diana, I’m very grateful to you for sharing not only this movie, but also the backstory and the movement and organization it inspired. I love the karmic goodness of Wright unexpectedly becoming a beneficiary of the kindness of other caring souls he inspired. This will be a joy to watch this holiday. ❤️

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    1. Goodness cannot be contained. When I found that backstory, and read those testimonies on the website, I rejoiced. I hope everyone who reads this review, and watches Christmas Jars, will feel the goodness flowing through them. May this inspire a circle of kindness without end.

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  7. Without this review, I wouldn't know about this movie. I'm planning to watch it now. It's right up my alley too. I'm wanting to watch light, positive movies for the most part lately. Life is challenging enough without adding to it with negative violent plots. Thanks for this one, I'll be looking for it now. Sounds excellent.

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    1. I think you will find this movie uplifting. I know I did. After you click on the link under the intro photo above, look to the right-hand side of the Christmas Jars web page and click on NOW STREAMING FREE. That takes you right into the movie.

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  8. Love the idea of the jar and paying it forward!

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    1. Isn't it great? Such a simple, and lovely, way to touch a heart and inspire hope.

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