I think I am the only person I know who doesn’t have cable. When funds are tight, basic necessities take priority over frivolous extras. So, what Christmas movies we don’t own and want to watch, we either have to check out of the library or catch on TV. Netflix is useless for any movie you’ve ever heard of anymore and if it’s more than a year old, forget finding it in a Redbox. (There were some definite advantages to brick-and-mortar video stores. CHOICE ranks high on that list!)
As a result, I was interested when ION started advertising that they were going to become the Christmas movie channel after Thanksgiving. After the first set over the weekend, I am already done — for one specific reason. Evidently, their idea of what makes Christmas “magic” is romance. Every single one was a thin variation on the idea of finding or reuniting/rediscovering your “true love” by Christmas Eve. As if romance is the point of Christmas. Of all the Christmas-related story lines, they have reduced it to only an unrealistic notion of Christmas inspiring you to find your one perfect happily ever after.
I suppose they are partly right — Christmas IS about love, GOD’S love for a broken and dying world and His willingness to send His only Son in the flesh to restore the sin-broken relationship between GOD and His beloved people, the crown jewel of His Creation. But, it surely ISN’T about Christmas being some kind of magical time in which all wishes and romances come true. It isn’t about human love, finding the right man/woman to ride off into the mythical sunset in a white horse drawn carriage and never come back to earth. Maybe they are confused and don’t know how to translate God’s ultimate love story into terms they can understand so they water it down and make it just about fairy tale romance.
Trouble is, life is never as neat and tidy and perfect as they make it out to be; and Christmas is not a panacea for every ill in the romance department. Just because it is the holiday season does NOT mean every troubled marriage will be instantaneously fixed or that the estranged love will come home ready to make it all right again; or the MIA/KIA report will turn out to be mistaken and the heroine’s true love will make it home just in time for Christmas; or the perfect mate will just fall into your lap, look adoringly into your eyes and carry you off to your dream home; or turn out to be a prince/princess with untold wealth … or any number of variations on the Christmas fairy tale story line.
Not to be a cold, depressing downer….but honestly, if this is what Christmas is about for you, you have totally missed the point of the baby in the humble manger in Bethlehem. Not to mention, you are setting yourself up for disappointment because Christmas, New Year’s (and later on Valentine’s Day) exaggerate emotional hopes and expectations beyond all reason. Once the “magical” feelings that come with the holidays pass into a new year and reality sets in, no relationship can perpetually live up to the high expectations of the swollen and exaggerated emotions of starting in the season where the primary driving force is fear of loneliness and a desperate longing to make a fairy tale come true and create an epic romance story to tell the grandchildren. There can be no solid foundation in the holiday-driven “love blindness” so when storms come and the magic fades and your prince/princess turns back into a frog, it all comes crashing down and heartbreak ensues.
Reality check: The high won’t last. After the “happily ever after” moment, comes the realization that your “true love” has foibles, follies, warts — and comes with baggage and bad habits. If you make a decision about the rest of your life while on the high of “Christmas magic,” and a holiday-inspired yearning for companionship, without considering the rest of the story and whether you can live with the good and the bad for the rest of your natural life, you are driving yourself right over an emotional cliff when the magic wears off and he/she is not all you hoped and dreamed of in your rush to “love.”
I’m sure there are couples out there who would argue with me and will be anxious to prove me wrong. There are always exceptions to every rule and I am sure somebody out there has a successful relationship/marriage, even if they did launch between Thanksgiving and New Year. But as a general rule, high caution is strongly advised when dealing with newly budding romance during the holiday season. If you are of the type to get carried away by the fairy tale hopes and wishful thinking, hold off a month or so and see if you still feel the same way or if the feelings fade with the ambiance of the season. If this person truly is your “true love,” he/she will wait and still be there. If it isn’t, it never was real to begin with — and I can’t speak for anyone else, but I am so done with imaginary romance. I spent too much time there as a teen and a college student 30ish some years ago. I want real, or nothing. All in or not at all. I’m too old to play middle school games.
In the meantime, I’m going to focus on the One who I know for sure loves me beyond all compare and celebrate the advent of His Son who came to earth as a babe in a manger as Emmanuel — GOD with us. That’s the only love story that matters during this season of Christmas! No matter the actual date, no matter the origins of the holiday, no matter that retail has tried to steal Christmas and make it into a commercial, secular holiday. GOD sees my heart and any day, any time is a good time to celebrate the beginning of the greatest love story ever created and the fact that GOD can and has redeemed any possible pagan symbolism that some worry about just as He did with the cross, and made it His own — a symbol of perfect love, hope and new life in Him. Retailers can try to sell it all they want, but the true meaning of Christmas is not for sale. He is a free gift to all who call on His Name and believe in the saving power of His death and resurrection — because GOD loves me (and you) that much. There is no greater love story than the one that started inauspiciously in a manger in Bethlehem. No Hollywood-inspired fairy tale romance love story can hold a candle to GOD’s Divine love story for all the ages of all humankind!
Music video by Bill & Gloria Gaither performing The Love of God (feat. Gaither Vocal Band) [Live]. (P) (C) 2013 Spring House Music Group. All rights reserved.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous for the LORD your GOD will go with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
I am not ashamed for I know in Whom I have believed and am convinced that He is able to guard that which I have entrusted to Him until that day. 2 Timothy 1:12