The Preacher's Wife, 1996

Denzel Washington stars in this Christmas film about Dudley, a messenger from God who appears to a family, makes them see things differently, and gives them hope. It’s an updated remake of the 1947 Cary Grant film, The Bishop’s Wife.

There are a lot of things in this film I think are culturally acceptable, but insignificant details and distractions in the film. These distractions don’t seem to bother anyone except those who have read the Bible. As I stated in my review of The Bishop’s Wife, there are some details which remind me of It’s A Wonderful Life. For instance, the angel was a human who died and became an angel who has to earn his wings as Clarence does or follow an Angel Handbook as Dudley does in The Preacher’s Wife.

The Bible does say that many of us have entertained angels and were unaware of it. That’s how this movie begins. Dudley is given the assignment of helping a preacher who is busy with his pastoral duties, but is missing out on important family time. The preacher is like many of us who have a generous heart, but haven’t been listening to God.

This preacher gives all he can in every situation, but nothing is turning out as well as he planned. I think if the audience would put themselves in his place, we would wonder how we missed God. Sometimes we forget where the power for our success comes from as this preacher did.

Of course the music was magnificent. Whitney Houston has always given unbeatable performances in her films. Listening to her songs makes any story distractions go far, far away. According to, The Preacher’s Wife soundtrack spent 26 weeks on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums Chart and “is the best-selling gospel album of all time.”

I also loved the performance of the preacher’s mother-in-law, played by Jennifer Lewis. She played Whitney Houston’s mother, but the actresses are only six years apart in age. Interestingly, Whitney Houston’s real mother, gospel singer Cissy Houston, was in the show as a choir member.

The Bishop's Wife, 1947

Cary Grant stars in this Christmas film about Dudley, a messenger from God who appears to a family, makes them see things differently, and gives them hope.

The screenplay was adapted from a Robert Nathan novel and had uncredited rewrites, including work by Billy Wilder. This film is almost like the Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life from 1946, except that nobody sees life as it would’ve been without them. In The Bishop’s Wife, the Bishop isn’t plucked out of his existence, but comes to the understanding that life is going on without him.

I could also compare this movie to Mary Poppins from 1964. Mary comes from the heavens, but not specifically from Heaven. She changes the perspective of the family members and gives them hope. The reality of all three of these movies is that nothing would’ve changed if the father didn’t apply the lessons he learned.

Cary Grant brings charm and controlled emotion to the story of Dudley. David Niven is the father who loves his family, but is distracted by the job of being Bishop Henry Brougham. He, like a lot of us, doesn’t know how to achieve success in every area of his life. So God sends Dudley.

Second Chance at Life 3

A widow, depressed because of the drought and famine in the land and because of the emptiness of her kitchen, decided to make one last loaf of bread for herself and her son before they die. Elijah asked her to make a small loaf for him first so that her supply of flour and oil would never run out until it rained again.

That makes me think of the verse in Exodus 22:22, “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless.” But in 1 Kings 17:7-24, Elijah never intended to take advantage of her. He was obeying God, and he wanted to bless her and prosper her by helping her act on her faith in God.

Today at Seek God With Me, I’m looking at a widow and her son who were given a second chance to live out their faith in God. When we get a second chance, we have to take the “do-over” seriously. We have to change something in how we respond to the situation or we’ll waste the opportunity.

Check out Seek God With Me today. Join me in looking at how we make changes in our lives and apply those life lessons.

You've Got Mail, 1998

Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly use email to get to know each other and want to meet so their relationship can develop further. They only know each other by their email address names, which don’t tell much about who they really are. While they correspond, they are unwittingly already aware of each other as competitors in the book industry. When Fox discovers Kelly’s true identity as his devoted email friend, he hides his feelings until he can change her view of him from competitor to supportive friend, and then when she’s ready… possibly more.

Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, this staple of chick-flick lists is a romantic comedy classic. By the time this movie came out, Tom Hanks had already become a household name by starring in Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, Toy Story, and Saving Private Ryan. And Meg Ryan had already starred with Tom Hanks in two romantic comedies: Joe Versus the Volcano and Sleepless in Seattle. Pairing this successful duo again was a no-brainer. It had to happen.

Director Nora Ephron worked with Hanks and Ryan when she directed Sleepless in Seattle in 1993. She and her sister Delia Ephron wrote the screenplay for You’ve Got Mail from the story in a play by Nikolaus Laszlo. This movie is an updated version of The Shop Around The Corner from 1940. Interesting that Meg Ryan’s store in the movie is named The Shop Around The Corner.

Hanks as Joe Fox is an unusual hero. His business is growing, which is good, but he’s putting small book shop owners out of business, which is bad. How does he change her opinion of him when he’s largely responsible for her losing her store which was given to her by her mother? He succeeds in making Kathleen Kelly and the audience fall in love with him because of his friendliness, patience, and creativity.

Second Chance at Life 2

Don’t you love it when people forgive you for something you should’ve never done. That forgiveness lightens your burden and helps you to find the strength to do what you were made to do.

Join me at Seek God With Me. Today, I’m reading in the New Testament, looking at another person getting a second chance.

This is exactly why I love Christmas. The Nativity scene is found on cards, in yards, and used as decoration in houses. Christmas is about a baby being born to bring peace as a gift from God to man.

God didn’t wipe mankind off the face of the earth; he forgave us. He gave us a second chance to do what we should’ve done before. Love Him. It’s what we were created to do.

God gave us a second chance in the form of a little baby. Who doesn’t love an innocent baby? This year, when you see a nativity scene with wise men, angels, and animals, I hope you see Jesus.

The Shop Around the Corner, 1940

This movie was based on a play by Nikolaus Laszlo, so it seems the play got a second chance at an audience when it was rewritten by Samson Raphaelson (and Ben Hecht) as a screenplay. And the Lubitsch-directed film got a second chance when it was remade as Nora Ephron’s You’ve Got Mail.

It’s a story of two pen pals who don’t realize they know each other. While their relationship develops in secret, they find each other unpleasant in person. When he sees that she’s his pen pal, he has to make her like him in person before he reveals his secret.

I loved Frank Morgan as Hugo Matuschek and James Stewart as Alfred Kralik. Both actors have been in so many films I’ve liked. Their performances here are wonderful as well.

Why was this movie set in Hungary? This was a tribute to director Ernst Lubitsch’s father’s Berlin shop where he worked as a child. He also said he’d known a shop like it in Budapest.

Second Chance at Life 1

Maybe we should create a Glad I Didn’t list instead of a To Do list. We all get overwhelmed by all of the things we feel like doing, should do, or have to do. We list everything in those three categories and then sort them to make a short list that can be done. Even with our good intentions, our short lists turn out to be a little too long. But saying no is good for us, whether we like the word or not.

If you need a break from all the non-stop going, then sit and make notes about all the things that you could’ve done and glad you didn’t. You didn’t do some things that would’ve turned out very bad. The Glad I Didn’t list can help us deal with our Wish I Had list.

Or maybe we should pick something important from our Wish I Had list and do it. It’s like getting a second chance to do something that should’ve been done ages ago.

We all need our second chances. Give yourself a second chance to do something that you could’ve done, but didn’t because it wasn’t the right timing.

Throughout December, I’ll be sharing ideas about second chances. Join me at Seek God With Me for a look at people who were grateful for their second chance. Today, I’m reading in the book of John. Find out who has never had a Wish I Had list.