Well, after watching, approximately 12 Christmas movies over Thanksgiving break, I am a) officially in the Christmas spirit, b) a firm believer that a well-timed snowball fight is the sure fire way to fall in love, and c) positive that there are certain things that we can learn from those Hallmark movie tropes.
I mean, how many movies do I have to watch, where the Type A, big city ingenue that’s chained to her calendar, completely shifts course because of love, or finding a new passion in a small town, or realizing what’s truly important in life.
I mean, it is every storyline. It’s the hallmark of a Hallmark movie. The feel good, back-to-basics, foundation of joy, that somehow we’ve lost sight of along the way.
Their secret is that they are open to life’s redirection.
A spontaneous stay at an African elephant sanctuary? Sure. Switching lives with a princess? Sign me up. Opening one’s heart to a new romance with the hometown baker? Of course.
The thing that makes these movies so magical — and frankly, so interesting — is that the characters respond to life with a resounding yes!
Sure, the driving force behind these secular Christmas movies is the “magic of Christmas” but we can really take a lesson from their openness.
God is always opening doors for us, but they often will disrupt the “plans” we have declared for ourselves.
However, that openness — that receptivity — to His plans, even if they may seem to shift our lives wildly off course, it is the quality that allows a divinely abundant life to unfold.
I’m at a time in my life where I’m really searching for His direction. In lots of areas: career direction, where to put down roots, heck – my love life. Maybe you can relate. But I have so many shifting puzzle pieces, so it’s no wonder that a Hallmark movie, where everything is tied up in a nice little bow after 90 minutes, is so appealing.
But the sentiments aren’t so outlandish.
I don’t think we have to have a sweeping life overhaul, complete with “B-roll” and cinematic montages a la Hallmark, in order to be open to life’s – and God’s – redirection.
I think sometimes, we get so married to this idea of what our life should look like. Those influences can run the gamut – from fulfilling dreams, to “keeping up” with others, etc. But we can be grasping so tightly to our own life plans, that we cannot recognize a slight nudge in a different direction when it happens.
Prayer is a big part of this. Being connected with God, and allowing for an open line of communication. And I say that knowing full well that that is an area of my spiritual life that needs work.
At the end of the day, God truly does want the best for us. He is our Father, and wants to delight us. Wants to unfold for us an abundant life full of joy, purpose and passion.
But we’ve got to be open to the path that it takes to get there. The path that might seem to take us wildly off course, or in a direction that seems completely contradictory to our own navigation.
The thing about these movies is that, come hell or high water, at the end of those 90 minutes, the story will be complete — signed, sealed, delivered, with a happy ending in tow. But life is not like that. God’s timing is not aligned with “movie magic” – and sometimes, seasons can be stretched, and trying and seemingly desolate.
But we can trust Him. We can trust the path He has us on will eventually lead us to where we’re meant to be.
And if this sounds like a bit of a motivational self-pep talk, well maybe it is. Maybe this is just what I needed to hear tonight, as I search for purpose and direction on my own path.
I think sometimes, waiting is part of the process. It is the waiting that allows for the yearnings in our hearts to develop and deepen. For our patience to mature. And our sole reliance on Him to become our lifeline and source of hope.
Whatever the case – I pray that during this season of Advent — as we are awaiting the coming of Christ on Christmas, may we keep our eyes and hearts open to any gentle pushes of redirection God may be trying to give.
May we be open, and receptive, and enthusiastically joyful about such a surrender of control!
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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