I am a 63 year old grandfather, a recovering alcoholic, a long time Green Bay Packer fan and, yes I watch the Hallmark Channel – and it is even by choice. I watch the Hall of Fame presentations and enjoy them all. I go beyond watching just the month-long Christmas collection and will check to see what is showing throughout the year. Even though I get looks from my kids and wife about watching the channel (yes I see those looks) I still will get my fill of the shows, even if I have to record them to watch when they can bother no one else.
There are various reasons I watch this network, the language used, the story lines, the characters and of course, the Christmas stories. However, what draws me back again and again is the manner in which the stories are resolved. Simply put – I enjoy when the show is coming to an end and I have those little tears trailing down my cheeks. I look forward to the villain in the story getting what is coming to him. I wait in expectation for the couple, unfairly kept apart, to finally resolve their relationship. (Yes, I know they are all typical Romeo/Juliet themes but I have heard the originator of that theme was a pretty good writer.)
The most common reaction I hear when I say something positive about the Hallmark Channel is “C’mon, that is reality?” Or it is said the shows are the TV equivalent of comfort food. I know the network does not air shows that have hard hitting, stereotype smashing, and always politically correct themes. And for some, what is portrayed on the Hallmark Channel may not be a reality at his time, or for any other time in their lives.
So I look around at what else is shown on television and wonder, is this reality? Do the themes as presented, actually happen without scripting or editing? And does this portray the way it is in my life – or for anyone else?
Exactly what reality is seen in these movies or television shows? Not a reality in which I would want to find myself – or anyone else for that matter. .
Many families experience difficult and seeming insurmountable issues with bonds broken or families completely ripped apart. This is a popular subject of reality shows watched today. In fact, if you tune to the appropriate networks, whole series are built around the dysfunctions and struggles of some families. These “realities” are often presented in such an entertaining fashion that maintaining the negative behaviors and consequences seem to be the goal instead of exploring a “cure.”
Then there are the sporting events – with some networks showing a 24-hour continual flow of sports related games, matches, contests or talk shows. Understand, I really, really like some sports. I played through college and beyond. I have watched the Packers forever and continue to do so whenever I can.
In truth, with two of the most popular fan sports shown above, players have an average career length of just between 6-7 years. These televised sporting events have the most viewers year after year and in some cases move fans to bet away their life savings or to riot when things do not turn out as they expect. However, the reality is that by 2022, most of the players who began their playing careers this year, 2016, will be leaving the sport. That is about the same amount of time it takes a child born this year to get out of kindergarten. Some reality.
In truth, the programs I watch are meant for entertainment, even my beloved Hallmark channels. The stories shared in the programs are conceived, written and produced to make the finished product most palatable to the largest group of potential viewers. The better I am entertained, the more likely I will tune in again to watch. Pretty simple. But really those shows are not all that important in the scheme of life, no matter how much I want to describe them as earthshaking, inspiring or significant.
But I still like a good ending. The greatest finale is still to come and is described in John 14:2 – 3: My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. One day, my Savior Jesus is coming back to take me to my real home – heaven. And oh, how I long for that day!
Do not get me wrong. I treasure many things in this world – my wife, my children and grandchildren, some very beloved friends, the physical blessings in my life and yes, even the ability and opportunity to watch certain television shows. (Well, maybe I do not treasure that last one.) Those people and things are temporal – they will all eventually die, wear out or even be lost.
That is not true about heaven. It is mine because I had nothing to do with gaining entry. Through his saving death on the cross, Jesus paid the cost and has also reserved a place for me – a place that cannot be taken away. I also know it will be perfect for me, because Jesus returned to heaven to prepare a place – just for me – this Hallmark-Channel-watching-grandfather. What a wonderful Savior!
So, I will continue looking for television shows and movies with the good endings. Some day I think this is what the greatest ending will look like:
I cannot wait!
Please come back sometime. I will wait you.