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Karen Estep shares the lessons her favorite Christmas movie shows us about what our relationship with God can be like.  

A Christmas Story is my favorite Christmas movie, probably my all time favorite movie, and my most quoted movie. I quote it almost daily, my favorite quote being, “A-dios Bart!” This is the part of the movie where Ralphie is imagining defeating Black Bart and his ruffians with Ralphie’s Red Ryder BB Gun. I also watch it as often as I can in the 24 hours between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Yes, I have seen the sequel; I love it as well, and bawl like a baby every time I watch it.  

Ralphie and his father’s relationship is one that is strong. From the very beginning of the movie, you see that Ralphie holds his dad in high regard. At times Ralphie is timid because of the kind of discipline his father might instill, yet Ralphie also wants to do what his dad does too. In one part of the movie Ralphie wants to help his dad change the tire on the car and pretend to be in the Indy 500 pit crew. That is much like our own relationship with God. We are timid when we know we’ve made mistakes, yet we still want to be with Him in any way we can.  

Ralphie pretty much begs for a Red Ryder BB Gun, to no avail. He is constantly asking for this gift and everyone says, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” He pays no attention and does not let that deter him from his mission of receiving the ultimate gift of that BB gun!  

He even writes a dreaded “theme” for school listing reasons why this is the gift that he absolutely needs. We can do this often with God too: persistently asking for gifts, listing reasons we “need” this gift, and not willing to hear the possible downsides. We want what we want when we want it and by golly, we know how good that gift is!  

Ralphie even goes as far as imagining what his life would be like with the BB gun. He is seen fantasizing about saving his family from Black Bart. At least for me, when I go to God asking for certain gifts, I ALWAYS imagine what it would be like if I were to receive that gift. I’m always thinking of how the different scenarios would play out in my head if I was bestowed with such things.  




Ralphie realizes in the movie that time is desperately dwindling away as Christmas Eve arrives. He feels like he has tried everything from hinting that he wants his BB gun, listing reasons why the BB gun would be good for him, and he has even imagined how great his life would be if he only had this one gift! So, in a down-to-the-wire attempt to get what he wants, Ralphie just goes straight to who he thinks is in charge … Santa. And what does Santa say while pushing Ralphie down the slide with his huge, black boot? “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” I have done just that. I have been so desperate for something that I think I’m doing what God wants but it turns out, it is not really Him! Poor Ralphie, poor me. 

At the end of the movie Ralphie’s dad comes through and gives Ralphie the one thing he has been pining over, the Red Ryder BB gun. The Old Man (as he is characterized in the movie) asks Ralphie if he knows how to load it, and warns him to be careful because the BBs can get all over the place. Ralphie's dad does try to help him while looking on with pride. Ralphie is so overjoyed that he races outside with his newly loaded gift, still in pajamas, and just starts shooting! To Ralphie’s amazement, he really had no idea what he was doing with this new gift.  

That is probably the kicker of how our relationship can be with God. We tend to be so overjoyed with the gift we finally received and so desperately wanted, yet we don’t look to Him on how to use this great gift. We can figuratively shoot our eyes out! However, just like Ralphie, we regroup, and try again the next day knowing that God is there to help when we need Him.  


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We are timid when we know we’ve made mistakes, yet we still want to be with God in any way we can. #CatholicMom


A Christmas Story is much more than just a silly Christmas movie for me now. It’s a human reflection on being a child of God. Sure, I’ll still quote this movie on a daily basis, and I’ll still put up the infamous leg lamp night light that my husband and I won in a white elephant gift exchange, but maybe I’ll take more time now asking God how to use the gifts I have prayed for. In the end, just like Ralphie, I know that my Father will be there for me when I need help using my gifts.  



Copyright 2023 Karen Estep
Images: Canva