First things first: Polar Express is an awesome Christmas movie! Sure, the story is fairly simple, and the characters are relatively bland, but it more than makes up for it all with the visuals and music.
As you can probably tell, some of my favorite Christmas songs deal with reclaiming the child-like wonder of Christmas. As with “Where Are You Christmas?” the message of this song is fairly straight forward: Christmas only has as much power as you give it. If it feels that Christmas no longer has the magic it used to, it’s not because Christmas has changed, it’s because you have changed. Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to keep the Christmas spirit alive within your own heart.
Also, I feel that this song and movie manages to touch upon a virtue that has since been overlooked and even reviled in our modern world: Faith. Yes, with the entire debate between religion and atheism, faith has simply become defined as believing in something without evidence, and thus is often associated with ignorance. But this simply isn’t the case. When you get right down to it, faith ultimately means placing your trust in something that is larger than yourself, whether it’s Santa Claus or God or even your family, your friends, or humanity as a whole. Either you have trust in something or you have trust in nothing, and when you have trust in nothing, you’re left all alone without anything; and in order to get through this life, you need to have faith in something.
And this is what Christmas is all about: hoping for a better life and world through faith in something larger than yourself, bet that in the religious sense though Jesus Christ or in the secular sense with love for your fellow man. That is truly the spirit of Christmas, and it only has as much power as you give it…if you just believe that is.