Having just watched the film “Die Hard” for the third time in less than a week, I can affirm it is, indeed, a Christmas movie, perhaps even more so than many of the assumed classics. And why? Well, not only because it takes place at Christmas, or because countless scenes are adorned with Christmas décor, or the traditional greetings passed between characters, or because, if you are listening, you’ll notice that the entire soundtrack orchestration is quite literally constructed from snippets of favorite Christmas songs, all of which are established on the framework of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” (which has become a Christmas favorite for many). It’s not just a Christmas movie for these reasons, but because it speaks of the divine gift of Christ’s birth as being at the heart of the season, and it does this through a character whose very name symbolizes the purpose of the Lord’s birth.
At the 14 minute and 20 second mark, right after an embarrassing interaction between a pompous co-worker, Ellis, and her husband, John McClane, Holly speaks the following line:
“You’ll have to forgive Ellis. He gets very depressed this time of year. He thought he was God’s greatest gift, you know.”
The time of year is Christmas, and for as wonderful as Ellis might think he is, Holly reminds us that Jesus remains God’s greatest gift. And, again, her name. Holly trees have long been used by Christians at Christmas. The evergreen nature of the tree’s leaves symbolizes eternal life won by the newborn Christ child. And how was this eternal life accomplished? The tree’s prickly leaves remind of the crown of thorns, and the deep red berries symbolize the blood shed, both of these taking aim at the reason for the Son of God’s birth: that He might die on the cross for the Sins of the world.
It is settled. “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie.