For Christmas may only air once a year, but it has something to teach us 365 days a year, as Crissy reminds us in the latest addition to the Living Letters series.
Shane’s journey in For Christmas resonates with something deep within me. It’s odd because I share almost nothing with her story. My family is intact. I became a Christian as a young child. And I most definitely celebrate Christmas. Yet, her cynicism, hurt and anger toward God throughout the movie feels incredibly personal to me. I have yet to make it through the movie without crying as Kristin Booth delivers her lines.
While I don’t share much in common with Shane’s story, her response to a little girl writing a letter to God is very much my same response. As Christians we sometimes think if we live a “good life”, then He will answer our prayers the way we want. In my mind, I expected God to give me my dreams. But circumstances can steal our joy, and in turn steal our hope and make us cynical.
When For Christmas first aired, it had been a year since my third surgery for endometriosis, and seven years into my battle with the disease. The last surgery took my hope of ever having children, and left me with scars that I’m still in physical therapy weekly to combat. I prayed and fought long and hard, only to lose in the end. It didn’t take long for anger and hurt to build, and my hope to diminish rapidly. Where was God? Why didn’t He answer me?
As I put together the videos for Mailbox Madness, I finally listened and heard the Oliver speech that would eventually win the category.
“Hope is what you were asking for in that letter. And…hope is what you have been given.”
When Shane read her letter, I initially thought God should have sent her dad home. That’s what she asked for after all, right? But God knew that more than changing her circumstances, Shane needed Hope, that day and every day following. And so do I. If I had written a letter to God, it would have asked him to change the outcome of that last surgery, but changing my circumstances would have brought temporary hope and He knew I had a deeper need.
“Don’t you see it? It’s right here for you.”
I knew my heart was full of the same anger Shane expressed. The more I watched, the more I was reminded that this is the God I know. That I’d bought a lie by believing he was indifferent to my desire to have children. His love and His hope are “…right here for [me]” I just didn’t see it. This movie reminded me that He lavishes me with His love, and He will never stop chasing me.
The process of grappling with God and returning to Him has produced in me a deeper faith, and a new Hope. And, like Shane, He brought hope through a surprising family of friends who love SSD, love me and remind me that He has good plans for me.
Romans 15:13 “ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope...”
I have no idea what tomorrow holds, but I am overflowing with hope, and my journey took a dramatic turn toward Him while watching “For Christmas”. It’s no small miracle.
The Living Letters series will continue as long as there are stories to share. If you would like to contribute something about how Signed, Sealed, Delivered has impacted your life that you'd be willing to share here on A&D, feel free to email me.