Devastated by the news that their 13 month old son has AML M7, a rare form of leukemia, a family learns to cherish every moment. Austin and Julie Locke rely on their courage and faith to guide them through the remaining months they have left with their son, Dax Locke. Encouraged by a support system of fellow moms, Julie Locke begins to journal their journey. It is through her words that Megan (Candace Cameron Bure) is introduced to the story and finds a new perspective on life.
Heart of Christmas
As Megan walks out her front door to take her children trick-or-treating she is met with Christmas lights and and a community celebrating the season of giving. Confused and inquisitive, Megan turns to her neighbors for answers. It is at this point that Mark (Matthew West) and Trish (Erin Bethea) hand Megan a card with Julie Locke’s blog information. Trish simply states, “It will change your life.”
Having personally watched a family struggle with a DIPG diagnosis of their son, I understand full well the ramifications it can bring. And, seeing an entire community come together to celebrate his life was an incredible display of humanity. In The Heart of Christmas you are given that same sense of hope. Faced with the reality that his son will not see another Christmas, Austin Locke (Eric Beck) brings home a Christmas tree in October. The neighbors notice the efforts and pull together to support the family in their quest for this one last magical moment.
Heartwarming and inspiring, The Heart of Christmas brings the holiday back to our focus on others. Watching the movie with my children, they were able to ask questions and further understand the family’s struggles. Having lost their young friend in March 2011, they have already asked the tough questions and worked through the emotions. This movie eloquently portrayed the untold reality that so many families face each year. Be prepared to cry and laugh. Find a renewed hope in your fellow neighbor… as well as yourself. Be encouraged. Be inspired. And, most importantly, remember to cherish every moment.
Given the chance to talk briefly with Candace Cameron Bure over the phone, I was able to ask her how she was able to keep it together in such an emotional film. She said it was difficult with the subject matter being so very real. They worked with the real family on the set and they encourage her daily as she got to know both Austin and Julie. Being able to hear their heart and the comfort they had found was a “wonderful, encouraging moment” for Candace herself. She was able to see the bigger picture and that kept her focused.
We also spoke about her own family traditions at Christmas and she confirmed how important it was to keep their faith at the forefront of the season on a daily basis. They still have the fun traditions such as a tree, Santa Claus, and presents, but they reinforce the reason for the season with their children. Their day begins with a reading from the Gospel of Luke and is followed by prayer. They sing, “Happy Birthday” to Jesus and then open their gifts one by one as a family. As we talked I shared how similar our celebrations of the holiday were. It was awesome to just talk to her and learn how much I could relate to this women I have come to admire. What a long way she has come from her “Full House” days. And, yes, for the record… she had a great time on the set of the show and is still very good friends with the members of the cast. (I had to ask… my teens begged me to).