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Dec
25th
2017

Love Actually, Then and Now - Merry Christmas · 5:56pm Dec 25th, 2017

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.

-The Prime Minister (as played by Hugh Grant), Love Actually, 2003.

In 2003, my now-wife and I were just starting to date. In the first few months of our relationship, we got to see Love Actually in the theaters. At the time, both of us were young, goofy, silly and fun. Neither of us took life super seriously and we were just enjoying being with someone who seemed to like us for us.

Granted, I’m still totally goofy and totally silly, but bear with me.

Since then, it has been a Christmas Tradition for my wife and I to watch Love Actually every Christmas Eve together, while I make my homemade chicken fried rice and we share a bottle of Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider.

To my surprise, this Christmas Eve (in 2017), when I was looking up one of the lines in the movie I’d never been able to make out, I found to my utter surprise that they had made a sequel to Love Actually.

It’s called Red Nose Actually.

Named after a special British charity event (run by an organization founded by the director and writer of Love Actually), it brought back an enormous part of the original cast, including Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, Rowan Atkinson, Laura Linney, Andrew Lincoln, Martine McCutcheon and Bill Nighy.

It came out on March 24, 2017 (I know, a bit late to the party).

The day before, March 23, 2017, was one of the worst days of my life.

In truth, I’m glad I didn’t find out about this now. I could have never enjoyed the sequel then. Heck, I probably couldn’t have enjoyed it now.

Why is this a big deal?

Well, that opening quote remains one of my bastions in belief in the goodness of the human race. I’ve seen great things in my life. I’ve seen terrible things, too. But as the Prime Minister said in Love Actually

It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there…

The other reason is that I’ve learned a lot about love in thirteen years. I knew going into my marriage that “happily ever after” was something you had to work for. It wasn’t an end state, but something you had to pursue every single day.

What I didn’t know is how hard that pursuit would get some days. How each day is a choice to love. It’s a choice to make the world a brighter place. It’s a choice to build someone up or tear someone down. How doing little things lead to far bigger things—both fantastic things and terrible things.

Some folks have been surprised by my perspective of romance here, especially in stories like The Tarnished Crown, The Kind Regard of Quiet Things and, most poignantly, in Spectrum of Gray. The truth is, what you see in those stories comes from living them. They’ve been rewrapped and reformed to fit into the world of pastel cartoon ponies, but the emotions are real.

Those emotions are caused by little moments. Little moments where I made the choice to love and little moments where I didn’t make the choice to love.

So, today, on Christmas Day, even after a very hard year (for the world and myself, though for totally different reasons), I’d like you to remember that those little moments are everything.

Life’s made up of little moments. Make the most out of them. Choose to love. Be there for those who need you, mentally and emotionally, even physically if you can.

The world is a very different place than it was fourteen years ago. But love is still needed. It requires more work than many of you know.

But it’s worth it.

Believe me. It’s worth it.

At the end of Red Nose Actually, a member of the press speaks to the re-elected Prime Minister David (Hugh Grant) and asks the following:

“When you came to power the first time you were very optimistic. You said the power of good would finally win that love was actually all around. 14 years later, do you still feel as upbeat?'  

The Prime Minister responds with a poignant message, not just for real life London—who had just suffered horrible terrorist bombings the previous week—but for us all:

Times have obviously got harder. People are nervous and fearful. And it's not just in politics that things have got tough. Usain Bolt has run his last Olympics.. The Harry Potter Films have finished. Piers Morgan is still alive. But let's look at the other side of the clock. Metallica's new album is an absolute cracker.

On the deeper side of things, I’m optimistic. Wherever you see tragedy, you see bravery too, where you see ordinary people in need, you see extraordinary ordinary people come to their aid. Today is Red Nose Day and people are giving their hard earned cash to people who they’ll never meet but whose pain and fear they feel and want to fight.

So it’s not just romantic love that is all around most people still every day every where have enough love in their heart to help human beings in trouble. Good’s going to win. I’m actually sure of it.

Merry Christmas everyone.

-Novel

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Comments ( 6 )

Really nice message, thank you. Rom coms aren't something I actively seek out, so I hadn't seen either of these (or even heard of the second one). It sounds like I could do with remedying that. Merry Christmas, Novel, and to all reading this as well. Erm, unless you don't celebrate it... in which case Happy Monday! Probably not as festive, but it may it find you well just the same.

Merry Christmas Novel. Wishing you and your wife all the best.

On a side note one time my whole school year was coming home from a 3 day ski trip and they started playing Love actually on the bus. I don't think the teachers had seen it before because they got a heck of a surprise when that recording scene played 2 minutes in. I don't think I have ever seen a bus full of people perk up that quickly. It was rather hilarious.

Merry Christmas, Novel!

Merry Christmas!

4758851
Well, I did wish everyone a Merry Christmas, so it's safe to say I celebrate it! Highly recommended, though you'll find every aspect of RomComs in here. It really is the ultimate Romantic Comedy. Be warned!

4758892
I remember seeing that scene, and loving how it's so casual and just "dropped in there." Even better? They're probably the cutest and most adorable couple in the whole damn movie. :rainbowlaugh:

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