It’s the Hallmark Christmas movie season! The eye-rolls and groans I receive from my friends when I announce this do very little to dampen my excitement for the lineup of sappy, predictable rom-coms. Each year I eagerly await the new releases on streaming platforms. And I’m not the only one! In recent years, Christmas movies have become a bigger part of Christmas culture. Despite the cringeworthy scripts and clichéd storylines, people are once more embracing their feel-good comfort.

As much as I enjoy them, I have to remind myself that they’re not real. The message they convey is way off. It’s easy to get lost in the picture-perfect world where everyone has a happily ever after. Hallmark, originally a faith-based network, misses many opportunities to point people to Jesus and instead reduces Christmas to moralistic good vibes and Christmas cheer.

Here are the great truths I remind myself of and want to offer to my friends, which surpass anything offered in the latest Hallmark release.


It’s All About Jesus

With good intentions, the movies offer many suggestions for the ‘true meaning of Christmas’: love, family, the joy of giving. These are all great gifts from God for us to enjoy. But they are only offshoots from the true true meaning of Christmas, our Saviour Jesus Christ:

But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord’ (Luke 2:10–11)

Christmas is certainly a joyful time; but not primarily because we get to spend time with family and the people we love, nor because of the gifts we give and receive. It’s a time for us to remember and rejoice that God sent us a Saviour and to share with each other this good news.


We Need Saving

At the start of each Hallmark movie we’re shown something not quite right in our hero and heroine’s lives. They’re unsatisfied or frustrated at work, they’ve sworn off love, they’re estranged from their family. And (spoiler alert) by the end of the movie all obstacles have been removed by relocating to a small town, falling in love or changing jobs. The message is clear: follow your heart and everything will turn out well.

But we know life isn’t that simple. Life is messy and it’s messy, in large part, because of us. We want the best for ourselves, we want to do things our way and we reject the God who lovingly created us and knows us. Work is unfulfilling and relationships are hard because of our sin, and we can’t fix this ourselves. ‘Following our heart’ is the selfish, self-idolising attitude that got us into this mess in the first place. We need a Saviour; we need the good news of Jesus.

Titus chapter 3 verses 4 to 6 reminds us that we are not saved because of anything we have done, but because of God’s mercy, kindness and love. As we watch tropey plot tensions resolve through inexplicable Christmas magic we can be thankful for the greater confidence we have because we are saved by Jesus.


We’re Not Promised Rainbows and Butterflies

Behavioural scientists, baffled by the Hallmark Christmas rom-com phenomenon, suggest the reason for the movies’ popularity is they are so blatantly unrealistic that they offer an escape from the reality of our busy stressful lives. We’re drawn to these films because for ninety minutes we can forget about all the pressures of life and enter a world of candy canes, hot chocolates and gingerbread cookies.

Like the characters, we escape when things feel hard and we look to replace the pain with something warm and fuzzy. We’d love it if life was like the movies where everyone lives happily ever after.

But what we have is actually even better than that: a God who is with us through all of life, including the hardest of times. Jesus Christ is Immanuel: ‘God with us’. He promised his disciples: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid” (Jn 14:27).

Although real life will be difficult, we can face it with joy, for we know that God is growing us (Jas 1:2–4). Let’s not run away from reality, let’s face it head on, strengthened by the promises in Christ, our Rock and our Redeemer.


Our Hope Is in the Good News of Christ

As unrealistic as we know Hallmark movies are, there’s a part of us that secretly expects our lives to be like this. That we will be happier once we’ve found our dream job or met the love of our life. We put our trust in ourselves or others to find fulfilment. But what happens when they inevitably let us down?

We should be putting our trust in God who has proved his faithfulness through Jesus—Jesus, who has saved us, and in whom we have hope for the future. Paul prays for the Romans: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in faith so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom 15:13).


If you’re settling in to watch the latest Hallmark releases this season, enjoy them for what they are; silly, wholesome and fun stories. But remember that we have a far better story. The joyful good news of a Saviour who came to redeem our broken selves in our broken world. A Lord who walks with us through life and gives us certainty and hope of eternity with him. Rejoice in the peace and comfort that this news brings!