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A Manly Love for Hallmark Christmas Movies

Ben Lane
Pastor of Coram Deo Baptist Church

I am about to say something that is borderline crazy, and, if taken out of context could result in having my “man card” revoked: I like the Hallmark holiday movies.


Before you closet watchers living in glasshouses with throwing stones beginning loosening your arms, hear me out. The greatest things about these movies are the terrible plots, cheesy dialogue, and third-rate acting. That is why I like them.
How are those the greatest things?

My wife (she’s the best) allows me to interrupt anytime I want and make fun of them. It’s an absolute blast! For many of them it’s like “Hey, this one is going up in flames anyway, let me douse it with the gasoline of vicious verbal rhetoric.” It’s great and you should try it.

Admittedly, the last couple of years this past time has gotten harder. The acting is better and, at times, the storylines and dialogue aren’t as bad. But if you can find one pre-2015, grab the popcorn and sharpen your wits because it is on.
Even as fun as it is to watch these cheesy things; it is also excruciating. One constant theme I find prevalent in every movie is that they are peppered with typical Hollywood bad advice. The danger of seeing and hearing this bad advice is that, if you are not careful, you can find yourself believing and repeating it.

The bad advice I have heard at least half a dozen times in the last movie we watched was, “Follow your heart.”

Imagine this scenario: You are sitting at your favorite coffee shop and see a guy obviously stressed out. You lean over with a look of sly seriousness and say, “Hey bud. Follow your heart.”

What do you think his reaction would be? If he said, “Yes. I think I will,” you should imagine yourself quickly saying, “No! It’s a trap!”
As Christians, we need to be aware of what the Bible tells us about the true nature of our hearts before we blindly following their lead. Scripture helps us understand that our hearts are more than a blood-pumping muscle in our chests.
The heart refers to the seat of our emotions but also so much more. It can refer to our reason, our conscience, or our disposition. It is essentially referring to the very source of our entire being. In fact, the translation we read as heart can sometimes be the words for liver, kidneys, or bowels. Hallmark wouldn’t push as many Christmas movies if they were telling people to follow their bowels, unless Pepto was the main sponsor.

Proverbs 4:23 counsels us, “
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” That means a little bit of everything we do is an overflow of our hearts. That is why it is so important to guard them. The question becomes then: Guard them from what? How about bad movie advice for starters?
If we follow our heart, it won’t take long before we realize how bad an idea it was. Jeremiah 17:9 states, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Our fallen hearts are bent toward self-indulgence and ultimately self-destruction.
God’s Word gives us an accurate picture of the true nature of fallen man’s heart in Matthew 15:19,  “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” These may be things included in a Christmas movie to portray a bad person, but if the film was honest it would be the portrayal of any and every person following his or her heart.

Natural man’s heart is a fountain of filth that drowns us in its flow. The trouble is that there is no changing our hearts on our own. This is not a Grinch scenario. This is not about doing enough good that your heart grows three sizes bigger. It is only the Spirit of God through the gospel Who effects heart change. He changes our hearts to respond to and obey Him.

Though we once allowed our sinful hearts their own way, now our hearts remind us to trust in the Lord. We must follow the Spirit and not our own sinful hearts. Yes, the work of sanctification matures us and purifies our hearts, but we are to continually wrestle with the flesh. Paul laments this fact when he says, “Oh, wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). By the power of Christ’s love compelling us, we are to walk by the Spirit and by faith, not by our feelings.

Most of the Hallmark shows are persuading everyone to believe we must have a mate to complete us and not Christ. Christ made us for human companionship, but not for it alone. Only He can fulfill us completely.
We can desire a mate, but we are not to follow our hearts when it comes to decisions as large as who we are going to spend the rest of our lives with.
Love is a sober-minded choice and not a feeling. Steep your mind in the Word of God and follow it.

The greatest thing to be reminded of during a cheesy Christmas movie this season is that God chose to come and rescue us. A rescue from our sinful, deceived hearts that were killing us. Praise God, He even helps us live obedient lives so we have confidence against our deceitful hearts. “By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him” (1 John 3:19-22).

Follow Christ and not your heart!



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