Michael Gracey directed the movie/musical, “The Greatest Showman.” In preparation for the movie, it took 8 months to schedule a date when the Fox executives, producers, actors and singers could all be present for a read through and singing of the songs. One of the main actors, Hugh Jackman, called Gracey the night before the scheduled meeting to let him know that a skin cancer had been removed from his nose, he had 80 stitches, and the doctor had instructed him not to sing. Gracey told Jackman not to tell anyone the news before he came, since he knew people would not be overly excited about flying to New York City to practice a musical and then not be hearing him sing. The next day, as everyone gathered, Hugh Jackman explained the situation about his surgery and the doctor’s orders. He told the cast and producers that he would stand, act, read his lines, and mouth the words as a fill-in sang for him. That worked fine until the final musical number “From Now On.” Hugh started out mouthing the words. Then he spoke aloud a few more lines. Soon Jackman was softly singing several more lines. No longer able to hold it in, Jackman sang the rest of the song with energy and zest from his heart. The room became electrifying as the other singers realized what was happening and enthusiastically joined in. There was a price to pay for his exuberance as Jackman had to have some of the stitches repaired or replaced. When interviewed about the movie, Hugh Jackman said that with all the dark in our world that this is his Christmas present of light. The movie stresses the importance of inclusion and tolerance and according to Hugh, “What makes you different makes you special.”
The Alabama Crimson Tide played the Georgia Bulldogs for the National College Football Championship. Alabama was behind 13 – 0 at halftime, thus Coach Nick Saban’s decision to change quarterbacks. During the second half, freshman Tua Tagovailoa, from Hawaii, guided the Crimson Tide to tie up the game and force the game into overtime. On the next to last play, in overtime, Tagovailoa was sacked for a loss of several yards. But on the next and final play of the game, the quarterback threw a long pass which was caught and run in for a touchdown. That play secured another National College Football Championship for Alabama. During one of the after game interviews, Tua Tagovailoa paused and said, “I just want to stop and thank my parents; and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! He got me here.” Tagovailoa couldn’t keep his gratitude inside any longer.
Hugh Jackman’s experience with the final song and Tua Tagovailoa’s after game interveiw remind me somewhat of Paul’s experiences in the New Testament. Paul would not stop voicing and sharing the good news about Jesus. Even when ordered to stop preaching and teaching about Jesus, or face prison and beatings, Paul refused to keep the message of faith, hope, love, joy, and salvation within. Likewise, no matter the consequences, Peter and John also refused to stop speaking about what they had heard and seen.
We tend to overflow with that which we are filled. During this New Year may others readily see and witness the Jesus spilling out in us through our words, actions, reactions, and the ways we love, respect, treat, and encourage them.
No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a washtub or shoves it under the bed. No, you set it up on a lamp stand so those who enter the room can see their way. We’re not keeping secrets; we’re telling them. We’re not hiding things; we’re bringing everything out into the open.
Luke 8:16-17 (The Message)
Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.