Written by cycleguy on December 17th, 2013

Several weeks ago Owen Valley Health Campus sponsored a night at the Tivoli and showed Polar Express.  Several years ago I posted some thoughts about the movie and thought I would submit it to you again since I have so many new readers.  Here it is (with some changes).

Polar Express, based on a  book by Chris Van Allsburg, tells us the story of one boy’s journey from doubt to faith. He lies in bed on Christmas Eve, hoping to hear sleigh bells, but his doubt grows. Later, he is awakened not by sleigh bells but by a train in his front yard.  He walks out front and the conductor (Tom Hanks’ voice) greets him with a question: “Well, are you coming?”  Boarding the train (Polar Express) soon turns out to be the smartest decision he makes.

He finds many other children on the train.  A sensitive black girl.  A loud, obnoxious, selfish know-it-all.  A lost little boy who appears to believe all the things people have whispered in his ear.  The train is an adventure ride as he meets the children, the mysterious man on the roof, the conductor, and others.  The boy travels to the North Pole, where Santa will give away the first gift of Christmas.  During the trip, the young boy continues struggling with doubt.  Two messages stand out in the movie (among others).

Lesson #1: “It doesn’t matter where you’re going; what matters is deciding to get on.”

How many times have you allowed fear or hesitancy or the whispers of others in your ear, stop you from getting on the train?  We run away instead of run to.  When that happens we often grow cynical and bitter and “curse”  our lot in life.

Lesson #2: “The most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.”

Talk about a lesson in faith!!  Does that not remind you of Hebrews 11:1?  I daresay that probably all of us, at one time or another, have questioned what we believe in..even though we cannot see Him.

The choice we make is whether to get on the train or not.  He has drawn me to Himself but the choice is mine to get on board or not.  The ironic thing is that neither I, nor you, have any clue whatsoever what getting on board holds for us.   Faith and hope cannot be seen in tangible ways.   It is a great time to hang on and let go.  🙂  He won’t let go of you…that is a promise!!

Have you ever seen the movie?  Any comments about my thoughts or would you like to add your own?  Feel free to do so. If you haven’t seen it, I think you should.  Just try not to groan when the singer at the great event looks and sounds like Stephen Tyler from Aerosmith.  😛


17 Comments so far ↓

  1. Daniel says:

    I am familiar with the movie, but have never seen it. Your summary drew some great parallels to our faith and how we should approach it.

  2. Jeff says:

    Haven’t seen the movie. I agree fantasy and faith have a lot in common. Some trains should be avoided and some will take you where you want to go. Everyone has to decide for themselves which train to get on.
    How many times have you let fear or hesitancy or the thoughts of others get you on the wrong train?

  3. I like the movie, makes me wish I had singing waiters delivering hot chocolate to me! Sorry I have no other deep theological thoughts to share….please don’t judge me. 😉

  4. Dan Erickson says:

    It’s a good movie and definitely a lesson in faith. Too bad it’s about Santa and elves instead of Jesus.

    • cycleguy says:

      it is but I love the comment Santa made about the “symbol of the season…just like me.” Lesson learned.

    • Caleb Suko says:

      Dan, I’m with you. It’s a fun movie but I just wish they actually had something about Jesus in it. It seems they had to go a little out of their way to avoid any mention or song.

      That being said, I remember once riding the train 36 hours from Kiev, Ukraine to Bucharest, Romania with all my kids in the dead of winter. I pulled out my laptop and we watched Polar Express because that’s exactly how we felt!

  5. Kari Scare says:

    Couple of thoughts. First, the idea of a journey from doubt to faith has stood out in every Christmas movie I’ve watched this year. Sure, it was there before when I watched them, but I am more aware of it this year. The movies I have watched so far that fit here are: The Santa Clause, Elf & Miracle on 34th St. Second, doesn’t God use imagery and almost a sci-fi/fantasy approach to get some pretty “out there” ideas across to us in Scripture? As far as I am concerned, the Bible was the first example of this type of writing. No, I don’t think it’s sci-fi or fantasy, but I do think it uses these literary approaches because He knew this is how we would be able to at least somewhat grasp what He’s saying.

    • cycleguy says:

      I have never seen Elf or Miracle but SC is one of my favorites. I like your idea of fantasy. It is easy to picture Revelation as that telling a lesson. Thanks Kari.

  6. Rob Shepherd says:

    Your quotes make me like the movie more than I actually liked the movie. I’ve only seen it once but I had a hard time getting into it. I’m interested to watch it again now.

  7. Betty Draper says:

    This is a good movie to watch with children and have a discussion on faith and doubt afterwards. Also a discussion on how imagery can be used to tell as story that can give us some understanding, the Bible is full of it. And one must have had faith to doubt it at times. I am glad I got on the Jesus train heading to heaven. Good post Bill

  8. This is my oldest son’s favorite movie! He just turned 13 and I think he still watches it at least twice a year. Love the spiritual principles you brought out, Bill. God is always speaking to us if we’re paying attention!

Leave a Comment