Sunday, November 27, 2011

Have a Happy Hallmark Holiday: Just Don’t Bring Jesus Into It

The alternate title to this post would be:  The Hallmark Channel Christmas programming: Jesus Need Not Apply.

Hallmark has created some beautiful programming over the years.  Sarah Plain and Tall is one example I could give.  But they have also created some incredibly vapid stuff, programs that make the Lifetime network look Shakespearean.  I watched one last night while I was trying to make progress on my NaNoWriMo novel, which I still haven’t named.    Ten minutes in I was pretty sure where the made-for-TV-“movie” was going and how it would end; I was 90% correct.  I kept it on anyway, and the program was sweet and entertaining, if predictable.

However, it was supposedly a Christmas-themed program, like what they have already been running for three weeks (don’t get me started!  I won’t be putting up a tree for two more weeks.  I don’t like it being up for more than two or three weeks, really, but I know I am in the minority.) 
Apparently, in Hallmark world, Christmas consists of
Gingerbread houses and hot chocolate
“It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street”
Santa Claus
Shopping, but nothing ugly such as pepper spraying on Black Friday
Snow (if it’s a real Christmas)
Finding true love (again or for the first time)
Having wishes come true
Family reconciliation
Warm pajamas
Puppies or other fuzzy animals
What it doesn’t include is
Miraculous birth
True angelic messengers
Displaced persons and refugees
Anything Jewish
Roman oppression
Dirty shepherds
The temple and two old people who have waited decades to see the Messiah
A confused young couple
I think Hallmark movies exist to encourage shopping, especially at Hallmark stores.    
In Barbara Tucker’s world, Christmas consists of
Beautiful music
Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
Not really getting into it until the second week of December
Trying not to get sick
Being off
Baking cookies
Visiting friends and family
Remembering when our son was born and little
Trying not to overspend
Reflecting on how hopeful the holiday is, but not in a secular way.

In another post I wrote about the novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.  It has much good writing, but there is one line that sticks with me.  “We trusted in the future too much.”  Such trust in the future brought the characters in the novel great disappointment.  Hope is not trusting in the future.  The future is a blank slate, amoral in a sense, an enigma at best, a possible tragedy at worst.  Hope is trusting the Person behind the future.    Hope is moral in nature.  This link will take you to another observation on hope by Vaclav Havel that I like.

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