Sunday, December 24th at 11a ET

The Waltons: The Children’s Carol

“I remember that Christmas when all the sounds and events of the world spoke against the holiday. London was being bombed, the evil of Nazi rule was spreading across Europe and, on Walton’s Mountain, Indian summer held off the snows of winter,” John-Boy narrates at the beginning of this movie about family, faith and hope.

Soon the peace and calm of Walton’s Mountain will feel the effects of the war fought thousands of miles away, and the family’s lives will be touched in deep and abiding ways.

During World War II, the Baldwin sisters agree to care for two English children, Tess and her younger brother, Pip. Both are refugees who escaped the London bombings and are thought to be orphans, as their parents have gone missing during the attack. The children are deeply traumatized, and try as they might, neither Mamie nor Emily Baldwin can get through to them. So the sisters ask Olivia for help and she takes the young kids into the Waltons’ home.

As warm and welcoming as the family is, Tess and Pip remain aloof. Pip hasn’t spoken or written a word since the bombing and separation from their parents. Tess remains unfazed by any offer of kindness or inclusion in the many activities surrounding life on Walton’s Mountain, including the adventure of going to find the perfect Christmas tree with Grandpa. Olivia questions her faith in God, wondering how He could allow these children and so many others go through the horrors of war. She even questions if God even hears her prayers.

Elizabeth, on the other hand, has little patience for the young duo, even accusing them of ruining Christmas. Meanwhile, the other Walton siblings are facing their own wartime dilemmas. Erin is still mourning G.W.’s death, and Jason, preparing for a stint in the military, decides it’s time for him to be a man, toughen up, though he questions whether he’s up to the job. To find out, he stops playing and writing music. Mary Ellen misses Curt terribly and takes John Curtis to the base where Curt is in training, but Army duties leave little time for a wife and child, and she feels put out. In the middle of all the tension, Jim Bob builds a short-wave radio and is able to connect with a girl in London.

But Tess and Pip are no closer to opening up to the family’s continued efforts and feeling overwhelmed, unwanted and outcast, they run off. As the Walton’s search for the children, they must also search for a way into their troubled hearts.