For the past few years, we’ve had a lot of fun bringing you holiday movie and TV show recommendations, and we just couldn’t let this very “stay-at-home” holiday season pass without giving you some new faith-filled holiday viewing ideas.
And besides, 2020 seems to warrant its own genre of essential media.
Many of us will find ourselves this holiday season with more time in our living rooms, and watching a good movie can be an easy way to bring some much-needed positivity to this difficult year. So we put together a list of what we on the Deep Spirituality team are watching to keep our spirits up, along with a brief description of what to look for when you watch from a spiritual perspective.
This is an eclectic list that spans many different genres — from action and adventure to anime. So no matter your interest, we think you’ll find something you like.
In no particular order, here are our top 11 movies that will help you end 2020 with faith. Enjoy, and happy holidays from the Deep Spirituality team!
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”: there’s always tomorrow
Arguably a contender for the number one spot on any Christmas movie list, “Rudolph” is full of classic moments and memorable songs. Of all the songs on the unforgettable soundtrack, “There’s Always Tomorrow” stands out.
Sung by Rudolph’s quasi-girlfriend Clarice, this song perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the story: don’t give up hoping, and don’t stop believing you can make a difference.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9 NIV
Few movies capture the simplicity of this spiritual message quite like our red-beaked reindeer as he struggles to find his place in a world that has rejected him. Through his struggle, he inspires us to believe that we should keep moving and hoping, no matter the hand we were dealt. Sometimes the very thing that is seemingly hindering us can be what leads to discovering our destiny.
– Parker Allen, Marketing Strategist
“Soul”: Believe in what you can’t see
This is a little bit of a risky recommendation, because the movie won’t be released until Christmas Day and I haven’t seen it yet. But I’ve been excited about Soul since we saw the preview last spring, when it was originally slated for release:
As someone who has a difficult time seeing the spiritual realities of life, I’m looking forward to this movie’s take on why our soul matters and why the trials and tribulations of life are worth it too.
When I think about the soul, I think of these scriptures:
 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?  Is anything worth more than your soul?Mark 8:36-37 NLT
[6-7] “What is the value of your soul to God? Could your worth be defined by an amount of money? God doesn’t abandon or forget even the small sparrow he has made. How then could he forget or abandon you? What about the seemingly minor issues of your life? Do they matter to God? Of course they do! So you never need to worry, for you are more valuable to God than anything else in this world.Luke 12:6-7 TPT
Our soul – the spiritual part of us – is very important to God. In this difficult year, I think we can find hope and faith by looking beyond our physical circumstances to our soul and remembering what really matters in life.
– Amy Query, Managing Editor
“Tenet”: There’s power in sacrifice
Tenet is a movie about sacrifice. Without giving too much away (it’s a recent film, after all), the protagonist fights for the survival of the world in a series of escalating challenges that test his willingness to sacrifice everything for the people that matter to him.
The film explores themes of brotherhood and putting the needs of others above your own. And it does it in a very Christopher Nolan way, which is to say, with a healthy dose of mind-bending suspense.
We all believe we would run into the burning building, but until we feel that heat we can never know.
This movie is a quarantine viewing essential. The Martian is so well-made that it prompted a widespread belief that it was based on a true story (though it’s not).
Matt Damon plays an astronaut who is stranded alone on Mars. His faithful attitude in the midst of intense hardship and isolation helps me with our current circumstances. It reminds me that we have to keep believing and keep trying, no matter how bad our circumstances are.
– Vince Lin, Video Production Manager
“Groundhog Day”: Relationships make life fulfilling
I really like the story of this movie because it teaches us about the good things that happen when we’re humble.
Phil (Bill Murray) is someone who thinks the whole world revolves around him. Given all the time in the world, he starts to understand how meaningless his life is when all he seeks is his own interest. The more he does what he wants, the less he feels fulfilled.
He only really learns to enjoy his life by loving others and beginning to see the value in each person he meets.
– Kenzo Chua, Video Editor
“On the Basis of Sex”: Vision overcomes adversity
No matter your political persuasion, this movie will inspire you about persevering and having vision in the midst of adversity.
When trying to become a lawyer, Ruth Bader Ginsberg faced a lot of obstacles and opposition due to being a woman. She eventually gave up, and settled. Years later, she’s given the opportunity to fight for what she believes in – equal rights – and decides to take it.
Compelled by the vision to build a better future for her daughter and backed up by the support of her husband, friends, and students, RBG’s spark gets rekindled, and she brings about incredible change.
 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.  Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.Hebrews 12:12-13 NLT
Sometimes we face obstacles that make us want to give up and lose faith, but there is a vision and purpose that God has for each of us that only we are meant to live out. Catching hold of that vision is what will help us keep pushing forward in faith despite the difficulties we face.
– Alexis Colvin, Writer
“Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi”: Failure isn’t fatal
You could pick just about any of the entries in the Star Wars series and draw some sort of spiritual inspiration (yes, even the prequels). I went with the one that resonated the most with me as a person in my late thirties who can easily struggle with regret, guilt, and a general lack of confidence.
Luke Skywalker was the hero every boy idolized growing up, the infallible avatar of goodness and lightsaber-wielding awesomeness. It’s what made it so shocking to see him as a broken and disillusioned hermit, determined to isolate himself from the galaxy after a devastating personal failure.
In his scene with Yoda, Luke gets a timely pep talk from his former master, who pushes him to think differently about his life and how he’s viewed his religion. Luke spent his whole life adhering to a creed he didn’t truly understand (“Read [the sacred texts], have you? Page-turners, they were not.”), unable to see that his view of success and failure was influenced heavily by his past experiences. The Jedi Order as he knew it taught control, suppression, and tradition and did not equip him with the tools needed to adequately handle emotions.
His fear of repeating another mistake froze him, and he needed a friend to slap him out of his paralysis.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18 NIV
The movie is about so many things: persevering in the face of impossible odds (The Resistance); struggling to find meaning, family and identity (Rey); what leadership is and isn’t (Poe). But Luke’s story, which culminates in a redemption of epic proportions that inspires the next generation of leaders, will always stand out to me because it gives me hope that I can overcome any setback or failure.
– Mike Query, Web Strategist
“Jingle Jangle”: You can recover lost faith
Jeronicus Jangle, an inventor, was disheartened in life because of the failure and loss he experienced. Through relationships and honesty, he learned that his original destiny and passion were still possible.
No matter what failures, loss, or betrayal we have faced in our lives, this movie reminds us there is always hope ahead of us. Sometimes we just need to listen to friends and family and be honest about our true insecurities to see the opportunities before us.
– Sean Kiluk, Web Developer
“My Neighbor Totoro”: Don’t go through life alone
I’m bringing some international flavor to the list with this one.
When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wondrous forest spirits who live nearby. The encouragement that we can bring to our family and friends in difficult times is a priceless gift when we choose to love, be adventurous and support one another no matter the obstacles.
My wife and I are enjoying watching Studio Ghibli filmography recently. My Neighbor Totoro is something the whole family can enjoy.
– Nathan Schaffernoth, Video Producer and Podcast Publisher
“The Christmas Chronicles”: Restore your Christmas spirit
In this movie, a brother and sister bond over the magical adventure of saving Christmas.
This movie touches on something particularly relevant this year: what happens when we lose Christmas spirit. Christmas spirit helps heal division as we become the best version of ourselves. So if you’ve lost some Christmas spirit this year, The Christmas Chronicles should be on your watch list.
After losing their father in a fire because he saved someone else, the older brother in the movie has been distant and mean. His sister, determined to catch Santa on video like her father did by accident years ago, gets her brother to hang out with her, and it starts a night of adventure.
Santa (in a great portrayal by Kurt Russell) teaches the children and others they come across along the way to believe again and that there is always a chance to do good.
– Kelly Lemons, Graphic Designer
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”: Friends help us trust again
Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) has a lot of baggage, which leads him to being cynical, guarded, and faithless. But as he interviews Mr. Rogers (Tom Hanks), the friendship that develops softens his heart and compels him to make changes in his own personal life that he never would have thought he could or would do.
We all need the kind of friendships in our lives that push us to have faith in areas where we’ve lost hope. We need friends to stick with us even when we’re mistrustful and difficult to be around, and it’s these friendships that make all the difference.