My husband and I sat in front of the TV at his Nana’s house. A Hallmark Christmas movie was on, and we got sucked in. For some reason we were in a sarcastic mood that day, and we started sharing some of our “observations” about the movie with each other.
“Of course she crashed in THAT snowbank.”
“Oh look! There’s even a dog... ‘Come, let me lead you to my owner, who happens to be single and very attractive.’"
“And his house is elaborately decorated for Christmas, because he’s a bachelor and lives alone. Makes sense.”
We were lost in our witty banter when Nana spoke up in her sweet, but stern, southern accent, “Okay you two. What is this commentary?”
Busted. I quickly replied, “Oh, we’re just being silly, Nana.”
She gave us a knowing look and a sly smile. Needless to say, we stopped. And we learned that day, you don’t mess with Nana and her Hallmark Christmas movies.
Honestly, I don’t blame her. It’s the version of Christmas we all want to live in, isn’t it? There’s the perfect small town where everyone is friendly and welcoming to the stranger who just happens to get stranded there at Christmas. There’s sparkling snow, Christmas cookies, a cozy fire, and plenty of laughter. And always, there is love. What’s not to like? I wonder how many of us are watching these stories, knowing they’re probably too good to be true, but suspending belief long enough to hope anyway. What are we hoping for? That love will show up in our stories, too.
I have good news. It already has.
This is real love - not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
1 John 4:10
This story is better than any Hallmark Christmas movie, because it’s not a story. It’s real life. Real love. And the best part is? There’s absolutely nothing we can do to earn it. It’s a gift. And not the, “you’re related to me so I have to get you a gift,” kind of gift. This gift involved sacrifice. Given for a bunch of humans who are completely broken, and completely loved. Because Jesus.
Now that’s a happy ending. Or should I say, a happy beginning?