A Hallmarked Life

You would think by now, I’d be over it. After all, it’s happened for the last few years. I am forewarned and yet I still act as though I’ve been caught by surprise. I’m referring to Hallmark’s departure of showing the Golden Girls and Frasier at night early into the month of November and lasting until the new year. The preemption is a result of Hallmark’s decision to run Christmas movies 24 hours a day for nearly two months! Hey, I love a good Christmas movie as much as the next person, but admittedly, the “everything works out in the end” narrative gets old. Perhaps because I witness life, notwithstanding my own, battle with struggles and tribulations longer than two hours and often not resolved in a seamless manner. The messiness of the movies is short lived and rarely does not even the villain benefit or find some redemption. As what is customary for me, I began to look deeper and consider my ill attitude after watching a few in a row. There’s always a character that has an amazing career, and another who just lost their job at the plant at holiday time. Someone else is trying to fight for the community, while another is directing the bulldozers of what to demolish. Another person is facing a life threatening disease, while someone else is seeking to extend grace by being a donor in just the nick of time. And the best one of all, someone who is seeking a relationship, who just happens to fall for the person who is in a terrible relationship that is not life giving. What makes it even more interesting is that each of these scenarios, collectively might exist in one storyline. However, best believe, whatever the issue, it will be resolved in two hours or less. And that my friends brings me full circle to my frustration, all loose ends are addressed and everyone lives merrily ever after with snow falling at the end. Give me a break!

To be sure, in this world, particularly as followers of Christ we will experience trouble. We will have many “thorns” and yet we are instructed to believe that his grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9). And even while I watch movie after movie, I would not trade my life and all that it has entailed for the exchange of a neatly packaged journey. Romans 12:12 instructs, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” While prayer may not appear as the most viable option when the “annual ice festival has been cancelled,” faith is demonstrating belief amidst uncertainty, which is what always prevails in the movie prior to the credits rolling, “The End.” When embattled, it feels as though the credits will never roll on the vicissitudes of life. Yet, we must trust and hold to Revelation 2:10, “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.”

The term, “hallmark” means a “distinguishing factor.” Every element about our lives are considered a hallmark in God. He chooses us to be his living epistles in the earth, and allows us to come up against circumstances that will enable us to operate in the power within, which is the Holy Spirit. So what if things don’t work out in the same manner by which the movie I’m watching does. God has the final say. Our reward is not confined to a 55 inch screen purchased on Black Friday. Our reward is being stored in heavenly places. Further, we experience glimpses of it daily in living, loving and leading lives that are orchestrated by God’s grace and mercy. There are a few lessons we can take away from the movie binge. We can return to appreciating the beauty around us. We can look to being open to the unexpected. We can allow ourselves to be loved from people who we’d normally dismiss. And, we can never laugh too much. What would our daily existence resemble if we in fact walked through life with all the happiness that this time of year brings? Even more so, what if we actually believed like a child hoping for their Christmas wish? May we walk in the knowledge of God being the hallmark of our lives, and may my late night programming hurry up and return.

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