Pastor John Christmas Letter 2023

Christmas 2023

Dear Friends,

I have a confession. I like Hallmark Christmas Movies. I know they are cheesy. I know that they are predictable. I know that they are going to kiss at the end. Most likely have a dog in it. I may have to pretend that I have something in my eye at the end of the movie. I know that there is truth to the plot line generator meme below.

But I don’t care, they make me feel good. They also support our local economy, every year several of them are filmed in our community. This year alone, the Hallmark Channel plans to add forty-one films to its roster, with each film being released during Hallmark’s annual ‘Countdown to Christmas’. Every year, millions of people sit down to watch Hallmark or similar type of films — and yet, it seems the consensus is that Hallmark movies are not particularly good. So, why do we watch them?

One writer calls it the Hallmark Movie Paradox. The popular opinion seems to be that in terms of quality and originality, Hallmark movies pale in comparison to other existing films — they are unrealistic and fraught with clichés. They lack diversity and many characters are practically walking stereotypes. But, despite this they remain popular.

There are several reasons why they are popular. First, Christmas is a crazy time and people are looking for stress relief, and it provides a temporary glimpse of optimism and hope. Second, people are nostalgic. We love to reflect on simpler days and good times we had. And last, even though we are cynical, we like it when love wins.

I want to focus in on the last point. The message of Jesus is the ultimate “love wins’ story. The life of Christ, though only 33 years long and only containing three years of public ministry: proclaimed to the whole world that God had come to live among us and to lead us into a love relationship with Him, the saviour of the world, through his death and sacrifice on the cross. One of the most memorized verses in scripture is John 3:16. It summarizes God’s love mission for mankind.

Greater than any Hallmark movie ever written, God lovingly pursues and draws us into the greatest happily ever after. A love story from now and into eternity!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:18) God’s richest blessings to you in the Christmas season and throughout 2024.

In Christ’s Love and Service,

Pastor John, Jennifer, and Family

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