I’ve decided to take the “guilty” out of “guilty pleasure” when it comes to watching Hallmark Christmas movies.
This cultural icon has become fodder for endless jokes and even sermon illustrations. Yes, they are completely formulaic and the always-happy endings are entirely predictable. What keeps us watching are the “getting there” details of maneuvering the journey through falling in love and overcoming obstacles and the inevitable misunderstandings that are shortly and inevitably resolved. (“Whew! That was a close one!” said no one ever.)
But there is such a deeply satisfying resolution in every movie that makes the obligatory happy ending seem not obligatory at all. Just . . . right.
I found myself thinking about the sweet satisfaction of every movie that makes my spirit hum with joy, looking for the “something deeper” that I sensed was waiting to be discovered.
Then I remembered the Really Big Picture about the true nature of reality that God has presented to us in His word. The story of God rescuing man winds its way from Genesis to Revelation with lots of plot twists along the way, but there is an unimaginably Ultimate Happy Ending in the final book. The true story of the battle of good and evil ends with justice and rightness. Evil is finally contained and punished in the Lake of Fire, and True Love—God’s love for His beloved people—Wins.
There’s even a wedding! The Lamb of God, Jesus, takes His bride, the Church, as His wife.
The reason Hallmark Christmas movies are so satisfying is that they resonate with the Big Story where there is such a happy ending we can’t even begin to imagine it.
Here’s the ending, from Revelation 21:
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
The real Happy Ending means no more death or mourning or crying or pain. One final wiping away of our tears, and then an eternity in new bodies where tear ducts will only be useful for tears of overwhelming joy.
It’s always a secular Christmas in Hallmark movies, where Jesus is never mentioned. It’s always about “the Christmas spirit” and “Christmas magic.” But the happy endings are still legitimate because, like all good stories, they point to ultimate reality where Jesus is King and He will make all things right.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, there are more movies to watch.