My favorite movies become my favorites because they share something in common: a plot twist. A plot twist is a new piece of information that changes how you understand the whole plot line. It make you say, “Wow!” and then you have to re-think the whole storyline that you’ve followed so far. And one of my favorite movies with a plot twist is The Usual Suspects.
OK, before going any further, this is the spoiler alert. If you haven’t seen the movie and you don’t want it spoiled, this is where to stop reading … On board? OK, I’ll continue.
So, the movie is a thriller where a caught criminal is sitting in a police station telling a detective the story of a big, complex criminal project that he’s been apprehended for. The criminal presents as a simple, disabled man who is a minor player in all the activities. In the background of his storyline is an unknown, unseen criminal character named Kaiser Soze who has mythological status and supposedly is secretly running a lot of the activities behind the crime. Or so it seem, because no one knows who Kaiser Soze is, whether he even exists or not. Well, after recounting the whole story, the detective is still baffled, and he lets the storyteller walk out. But shortly afterwards, he starts to piece together the story he just heard with visible objects around his office. In the meantime, the movie scene pans to the criminal leaving the station and walking along street, gradually losing the limp he had throughout the movie, lighting a cigarette, and calmly slipping into a waiting limousine that drives away. By the time the detective can run outside to look for him, poof, just like that, he’s gone. Kaiser Soze was right in front of him the whole time.
That, friends, is a plot twist. Not only was the detective taken completely by surprise, but the viewer, too. That’s what makes it a great movie – the plot twist at the end. Just like you’re the detective, your mind is blown, and you have to re-think the whole movie storyline from the very beginning. Plot twist!
On Christmas, Mary has the opportunity to look at her Son and see something for the very first time: herself. The virgin birth is, yes, a miracle, right? We know the biology, that God went over that. But what does it mean for Mary? Well, since Jesus has only Mary’s genetics, it means that Mary can see for the very first time that God has her face. God has her hands, her feet. God has her skin and skin color. God has her lips and mouth, her nose. God has her hair color. Her eyes. And it gives her a new insight: that all along, God has been with her. In the good, the bad, and the ugly of her life up to that point, God has always been with her, more intimate than she could ever have imagined. Wow, what a surprise! It’s a whole new perspective that changes how she looks at her whole life up to that point.
It’s … a plot twist.
The great Christmas gift that God wants to give us is the plot twist of life.
Almost 20 years ago, I felt in my heart that God was inviting me to take time away from life and accept something that He wanted to give me. I didn’t know what that was and I was not a little scared. It was all new to me, and I was never sure how to do it, but I decided I would try to trust and respond. Well, in my time alone, I came to see something I had never seen before: Jesus had been with me all along in my life. What?! Mind blown. Yes, in the good, the bad, and even the ugly, he had never left me. He had never judged me that it was time to give up on me. He had always been there. In fact, he was more intimate with me than I had ever imagined, and I had never even noticed. I tell you, as that realization sunk in, I was blown away, and I never felt so loved and free in my life. It made me start the process of re-thinking my whole life from the beginning, and over time come to understand myself, my life, my path differently.
That event almost 20 years ago was the plot twist to my life.
There’s a big Christmas gift that God wants to give each of us. It takes some time alone to really take it in and receive it and open it up, but it’s worth it. I won’t say anymore, I don’t want to spoil it for you. I’ll just say that it’s my favorite gift, and suggest to not be afraid to take it in and open it.
Merry Plot Twist.
“Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” (Lk 1:28)