I stood shivering in my church’s parking lot, chatting with a couple friends (six feet apart). I was there to pick up my daughter after her small group, and they were there to clean out the children’s ministry bins that had been sitting unused for eight months. We caught up on each other’s lives for a bit, and then one of my friends said, “Oh hey, have you watched any holiday movies yet? Which ones did you like?”
The next weekend, another friend texted with the same question. She had an evening to herself, and she intended to spend it wrapping Christmas presents and watching a Christmas movie. With screen shots and emojis, we walked through the options, and I helped her find a movie to watch that night.
It is a truth universally acknowledged (at least by the people who know me) that I am a holiday movie expert.
I don’t say that to brag — I promise! I am fully aware that this is a dubious honor to many and a silly obsession to others. But the truth remains that I love holiday movies, I’ve watched a lot of them, and I love helping people enjoy them as well.
Now, if you can’t stand made-for-TV holiday movies, don’t worry. I’m not really here to convince you they’re for everyone. Instead, I want to encourage you to embrace whatever simple, sweet, or sacred comfort helps you find your way back to the Reason for this holiday season.
Does ’round-the-clock Christmas music warm your heart? Go for it.
Does driving past that house with the crazy lights make you laugh every time? Do it.
Are you tired of counting calories and craving daily Christmas cookies? Why not?!
Or on a more serious note . . .
Do you need to watch four different sermons this week because you’re missing in-person church so much?
Are you wishing you could stay home, even though everyone else in your circle is getting together?
Is your Advent devotional the only thing keeping you from spiraling into a dark place right now?
Then I say, Do it. Do what you need to do to say centered and safe and sane. Do whatever it is that brings you comfort and joy in this season, that pulls you closer to God who promises to be with us, that keeps you mindful of the One we celebrate this time of year — our Emmanuel.
And if holiday movies happen to do that for you? Well, I say go for that too! After all, knowing what to expect with our traditions and our comfort foods (and our sappy, formulaic movies) is a blessing in itself. Coming at the end of such a tumultuous season, that sweetness and predictability feels like a relief. It seems to meet our deep desire to have something we can count on right now.
When the truth that’s really universally acknowledged is that this year has been challenging in ways we never expected, ways we were not equipped to handle, ways we can barely even put into words, we might be tempted to think our “silly” traditions don’t even matter. As the darkness and difficulties drag on, despite becoming more drained and more desperate for relief, we can be tempted to give up on finding any comfort or joy at all.
But our reason for celebrating the holidays — with all the traditions or just a few, with purely sacred comforts or a mix with the silly as well — hasn’t changed. Jesus is here for you, and no difficult, draining, or even depressing year can make that not so. Our true comfort is in Christ, and our real joy is in Him.
We need the comfort of Christmas more than ever. And if you find some of that in candy canes or white lights or Christmas carols or even in my beloved holiday movies, I hope you embrace those things with joy. Just don’t forget the One who loves you most, who never changes, and who is always there for you.
If you do actually love holiday movies like I do, I invite you to visit my site, HookedonHolidayMovies.com, for a free bundle of fun and festive downloads (including movie guides, recipes, and a holiday movie-inspired devotional)!
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