‘Tis the Season! Yes, my friends, we have made it past October 25th so that means it is Christmas 24/7 on ALL three Hallmark channels. Any time of the day you can tune in and see sparkly lights, freshly fallen snow and a warm and cozy diner where everyone says, “hello.”
It also means you see a lot of heros who wear a button down shirt covered with a sweater. Will it be a quarter-zip? Perhaps a crew? What if it is a v-neck in this one? My family takes great joy in figuring out HOW this one is different from the other 3,000 that follow a very formulary plot line. Sometimes it’s that the guy is wearing a striped shirt vs a plaid under the required sweater.
But hey, people like it. In January, it was the highest rated and most watched cable network during Primetime. However, I have a little confession. Like a lot of others, I get giddy in late October, but after a few weeks I get a little bored. The stories all start to blend together. Sometimes I get confused because, didn’t I just see that girl fall in love with another guy or vice versa. That’s the danger of following formulas…you can lose people’s attentions.
The fun thing is that we serve a God who is the very inventor of creativity. He could do things in an efficient manner, or he could create trees that start with a branch that produces a soft white and pink tinged blossom which leads to a wispy, light green leaf. That leaf darkens into a deep green during the summer and then slowly transitions from yellow to orange to fiery red throughout the fall. Simple can get boring, so since God is the originator of relationships, he loves to keep our interest.
One element in every Hallmark movie is a light level of adventure. The couple does something NEW together.
ADVENTURE: (n) an undertaking involving danger and unknown risks * an unusual or exciting experience Simply stated–exploring the unknown, going there with insufficient preparation and doing things you never thought possible. (v) to proceed despite risk
James 1:2-3 reminds us, “Consider it pure joy my brothers when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Translated, trials and adventure make us better people.
Hallmark movies have loyal followings because we know how they all will end. There will be a bit of an adventure. There will be something that doesn’t work out and then it will all turn around. It’s the exact same with God. We know how it ends–a plan to prosper you…a plan to give you a hope and a future. (Jer. 29:11) However, unlike Hallmark, we never quite know HOW God will get us there.
If you suffer Hallmark burn-out this season, just look to the originator of all adventure. Let’s park in Judges for a bit. For adventure junkies, it doesn’t get any better than this. We meet Ehud–a left handed man who goes to battle against Eglon, the enemy King of Moab. Alone in the great room, Ehud slips out a sword and plunges it into the King. Ehud leaves and no one disturbs the King because they think he is in the restroom. The Israelites take over Moab and they live in peace for 80 years. (Judges 3)
For the next baddie (Sisera), God uses Jael, a woman with a tent stake. (Judges 4).
Then we get to Gideon who after much hemming and hawing FINALLY believes that God will allow the Israelites to break free of the Midianites. He starts with a huge, well equipped army. God whittles it down to 300. Now, the Midianites are a people “thick as locusts” with more camels than grains of sand on the seashore (aka A LOT). So, HOW will these 300 defeat these proverbial giants? What if God tells them just to use trumpets, jars and torches and then has them do some college game day halftime show performance? Check out Judges 6-7 to see the ultimate adventure story.
It’s time to ditch Hallmark and dive into an adventure with the ultimate hero. (Ok, perhaps you can still have both.) In this season, look for the adventure around you. Ask God to use you in “ways you never thought possible.” Be open to being a Ehud, Jael or Gideon and then come and share with us your story. ‘Tis the Season of Miracles!