The Reverend TimTom, from The Middle, is one of the more realistic pastors on TV. Yeah, he does have a guitar and sings an awesome little abstinence song to open the show, but he also hosts the Christmas pageant in this episode, called “JC’s Rockin’ Birthday Jam.” (THE BEST, right?)
The family in The Middle is struggling with their usual normal mess of a life, with no money for Christmas presents, two very different kids in the Christmas pageant at church, and the dad’s crazy brother who has filled their garage with stolen goods.
In the middle of this episode (yes, I know, but it really is in the middle), the dad comes to pick up the kid from Christmas pageant practice. He says to his son, “Come ON. Dad’s had a long day. Let’s go!” My kids are in the Christmas pageant this weekend, and I look around at the parents, and our attitude in crazy December is exactly that.
But in this universe, the Reverend Tim Tom asks the dad what’s going on, and when the dad says it’s just normal life stuff, like dudes do, the awesome Reverend sings him a little song about “taking his problems to the Man Upstairs.” It’s SO CRINGE-WORTHILY AWESOME. The dad rolls his eyes and walks out.
A few days later, you see the dad sit down by himself in the garage, and look up, and start to talk. It’s a super great prayer, “Um, I’m not really sure how this works, because my wife is really the churchy one, so maybe you can talk to her, but I just need some answers about my brother. Oh, and thanks for Andrew Luck.” (quarterback for the Colts, according to the Sports Dude I live with).
At the end of the show, the dad sees his kids messing around, and realizes that his older kid sees his younger son as HIS weird brother, and that he would never want to lose touch with his brother, even though he drives him nuts.
I loved this interesting and subtly answered prayer, which is often the way it happens, despite weird other shows manufacturing “fate” from out of work actors being angels. Life isn’t like that. You throw something up there, even as an afterthought, and maybe your vision changes a little bit, and your heart softens. THAT’s a Christmas miracle.