Christmas, Discontentment, and Hallmark Movies

Saturday, December 4, 2021

 Do you find yourself becoming discontent and ungrateful at Christmas as you try too hard to make everything perfect? Come hear what I've been learning about Christmas, discontentment, and Hallmark movies lately.

I love Christmas. Like a lot. I love the twinkling lights on the tree, I love Christmas music, Christmas parties, and Christmas movies. I love exchanging gifts, spending time with family, and decorating gingerbread houses. But I've noticed (as I'm sure you have too) that sometimes we get very caught up in the things I listed above and forget that the only thing we should be truly caught up in is a love of our Savior. 

Honestly though, you probably already knew that, right? So why do I bring it up if I think you already know?

Because we all need the reminder to remember our savior, and we also need the reminder to be thankful in all things. 

Hallmark Christmas Movies, Christmas Traditions, and Discontentment

I often have a Hallmark Christmas movie on in the background while I work this time of year. Yes, the acting is typically sub-par, the plotline is only half-way thought through, and there's so much cheesiness. But I'm of the belief that a little cheesiness never hurt anyone (unless you're lactose intolerant, and in that case, maybe don't watch Hallmark movies 💁). I truly do enjoy watching because they are usually happy and generally clean, they don't require a lot of attention, and they do feel very "Christmas-y".

However, the more of these movies I see, the more I notice a common theme of the characters. There's always at least one character who thinks that Christmas makes everything better. 

"It's Christmas! Anything magical can happen."

"It's Christmas. You should be happy."

"I believe you'll find your perfect soulmate because it's Christmas."

There are also a lot of characters who need everything about Christmas to be perfect. 

The perfect tree.

The perfectly decorated house. 

The perfect Christmas present, date, party, dress, cookies, gingerbread house. You name, it needs to be perfect "because it's Christmas".

And that's the problem, isn't it? We (I) often spend so much time thinking about how we want everything to go for our perfect little sentimental holiday that we forget a few important things.

  • We forget that Christmas isn't about decorations and parties and music. Those things are fun and good, but they are meant to be enjoyed, not stressed out over.

  • We forget to be thankful for what's in our lives, even when a pandemic keeps us from visiting family, or on a lesser scale, even when the dog knocks over the Christmas tree and breaks "baby's first ornament". 

  • We forget that our lives are not supposed to look like a Hallmark movie (and that's actually a good thing, because good grief, Hallmark).

  • And most importantly, we forget that the only thing that matters is our perfect Savior who humbled himself as a baby, lived a perfect life, died for our sins, and defeated sin and death and rose from the dead. He is our perfect atonement, our forgiveness, our righteousness. We don't need a tree. We don't need to hear Michael Bublé sing another Christmas song. We don't need to watch our favorite Christmas movie, bake any cookies, or see our family in order to find joy in the one true God we are supposed to be celebrating during this holiday (and always).

If you are able to do those things, then do them. Enjoy them. Be giddy about Christmas day and make that ugly gingerbread house that no gingerbread man would ever want to live in. Watch the silly movies about a tall man being raised by elves who sets off to find his dad. Exchange gifts. Put up your Christmas tree. Go visit your family. 

But friends, let's not put our hope there. And let's not fool ourselves into thinking that we never place our hope there - because most of us do in some way or another. 

So let's repent of that misplaced hope and joy. Let's ask God to help us savor him, cherish him, and find our hope and joy in him alone. Let's ask him to teach us to enjoy the good gifts he's given (like family, fun traditions, and the like) without making them our idols.

So here's the question: if all of our Christmas traditions were stripped away, and if we were unable to visit family for the holidays, would you be devastated, claiming that Christmas was ruined? Or would you still find true joy in your Savior and know that that's what Christmas is all about anyway?

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