Most of us have loved Chris Pratt since we first met him as Andy Dwyer on Parks and Rec. Then he made his dramatic debuts in Academy Award Best Picture nominees Moneyball and Zero Dark Thirty. The latter revealed that he could be an action star, so it came as no surprise when he helmed two of the biggest worldwide action blockbuster films, Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World.
I’ve been a huge fan of Chris Pratt’s from the beginning. He’s funny, he’s down to earth, and he doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously.
But I’ve also admired him for several years now because of what I’ve seen from him as a family man. Watching this video of him teaching his son the Pledge of Allegiance and respect for the American flag around Independence Day really got me.
My son, John (Jack) Joseph Williams III, was born on October 10, 2014. If you visit my social media page or run into me, it’s clear how much I love Jack. And most times, you’ll find me quickly veering away from my usual favorite topics of discussion (politics, film, TV, sports, and books) and talk as much as possible about Jack and being Jack’s father.
I’ve been hesitant to blog about my newfound fatherhood, though, for a variety of reasons. 1) I have no wisdom to offer or insight to provide. If anything, fatherhood simply humbles you and makes you more in awe of God the Father and his love for us. Like marriage, you begin to grasp slightly more yet still only a sliver of the all-encompassing love, grace, and sacrifice of God the Father and Christ the Son. 2) No matter what I say, it won’t be as hilarious as Seth’s “10 Things You Need to Know About Babies that Doctors Will Not Tell You.” 3) Fatherhood is the best thing that’s ever happened to me… but I don’t want to be THAT guy.
Yet here I am, a little over three months into parenting, and I’m blogging about fatherhood. What brought me to this point? Well, like most things with me, it all started with George Bailey.
The Wise Guise has enjoyed presenting high-quality Christmas content since our first year. We’ve posted old Christmas-themed Facebook notes from yours truly in addition to the infamous 2012 Christmas Movie Smackdown and a Christmas YouTube Hall of Fame. As I write this, I continue my tradition of watching classic TV Christmas specials late at night. Currently, for the first time ever, while watching Frosty Returns, I realized that Elisabeth Moss (Peggy from Mad Men) voiced the protagonist Holly in Frosty Returns. A Christmas miracle if there ever was one!
This year, I’ve decided to blog about several less memorable scenes of classic Christmas films. It’s not that these scenes haven’t always been special, but instead, they are scenes overshadowed by their place in the film, other more iconic moments, or in my case, scenes that are more memorable to a child’s mind when I first saw the film compared to re-watching these films as an adult.
Beginning with this first post, I wanted to dive into the church scene from Home Alone. I still remember seeing Home Alone in theaters when I was four years old. Every Christmas, I’d dust off the VHS or DVD or watch it on TV. This year was no different. When I was a kid, the church scene was the one that bored me the most. Finding myself restless and anxious for Kevin versus The Wet Bandits with his house filled with booby traps, I’d want the church scene and serious conversation with Old Man Marley to just hurry up and be over.
Now, as I’ve become an adult starting my own family with my own son, it’s the scene in the church that I want to last forever because it’s so rich and emotionally powerful. For those of you that haven’t done your duty and rewatched Home Alone already this year, here are two YouTube clips. Neither is high quality, but together, they capture the best 8 minutes of the film.
It boggles my mind and, yet, it’s the primary example that it can be done with hard work, faithfulness, and, most importantly, the grace of God.
It boggles my mind because I first met Lecrae back in the early days of college when he performed a concert at Christ United Methodist in Memphis, TN where I was a youth group intern for the summer. He was also well-known by my friends who worked at Kanakuk Kamps over the summer. We all had hope for Lecrae because, while he was a Christian rapper performing in Christian environments, he was not like most of the other Christian rappers. He was not like most of the other Christian artists.
His work was at a higher level than most other Christian art, whether they be film, music, or television. It was at the next level.
But not in my wildest imagination did I ever dream of the day where Lecrae would sit in with The Roots on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and be introduced as having the #1 music album in America.
Not the #1 Christian rap album or #1 Christian album or #1 rap album.
Nope. Lecrae’s latest album, Anomaly, is the #1 album in America. Period. Full stop.
Have you ever heard a truly great preacher? I’m not talking about the stereotypical hell-fire-and-brimstone one the church of olden days churned out. I’m also not referencing the feel-good spiritual gurus who dominate the airwaves now, who seem to be OK with everything except not leaving a donation in the collection box. Read more
It’s tough to express feelings about D-Day as someone who was born over 40 years after June 6, 1944. Most historians refer to it as a turning point in western civilization. When I think of D-Day, I think of images. The opening scene of Saving Private Ryan. My visit to the eerily peaceful beach in spring 2010. But I also think of words – FDR’s D-Day prayer over the radio, General Eisenhower’s speech to his men, and more.
I’ve made it somewhat of a tradition here at The Wise Guise to commemorate D-Day with a reflective post. I’d urge you to read my best friend Jay Salato’s post from two years ago reflecting on the speech he had the opportunity to give at the commemorative ceremony at the U.S. Memorial Cemetery at Omaha Beach. Then, I’d urge you to re-visit my post from last year and listen to/read FDR’s prayer and Ike’s speech.
This year, I want to share two more pieces of history that I’ve recently found to continue the impossible task of commemorating the courage and sacrifice of those men who charged Normandy Beach.