Starring: A woman leaves her old life behind in Boston and pursues a new chapter in her career and personal life, but a detour leads to unexpected discoveries.
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Queen of Christmas Stamp
Candace Cameron Bure executive produced Christmas Town, so her fingerprints are all over it, meaning the movie has a strong focus on faith, family, and loving one’s neighbors.
Unlike the cotton candy fluff of many Hallmark Christmas movies, this one serves a deeper purpose than merely providing the viewer with feel-good entertainment.
Foster Care, Adoption, And Finding Family
Hallmark is known for its Adoption Ever After program to find forever homes for shelter pets. Since humans are far more valuable than animals, it is heart-warming to see a focus on foster care and adoption in this movie.
Have you ever been in foster care or been a foster parent yourself?
Many of us can’t imagine what it would be like to have little or no roots, lose both of our parents at a young age, or feel unwanted and completely alone in the world.
Dylan asks Lauren if she ever had adoptions fall through, and she shares that it happened to her twice. Think of the rejection and abandonment issues facing these displaced children–excitedly anticipating an adoption into a home and a family, only to have their hopes dashed when the family gets cold feet.
When Travis, who has fostered and grown quite attached to Dylan, learns Lauren plans to adopt him, he shares valid concerns that she will fall through on her commitment and hurt Dylan deeply. Travis’s fears are ungrounded because he’s preaching to the choir, but his comments serve as sound advice to anyone considering fostering or adoption–when a person’s heart and life are at stake, it’s not like backing out of a real estate deal. Some broken hearts never heal.
What is so precious about Lauren’s story is that she gives back into the system that failed her. She had multiple foster families, and since no reference to them is made in the movie, the viewer can assume she never stayed connected to any of them. What she never received herself, she gave to Dylan.
|Image: Crown Media, United States, LLC
Lauren’s character shows us that you can find beauty from the ashes of your own life. The challenges you face don’t have to define or embitter you. Once you can process and overcome the pain you’ve faced in your own life, you can use the wisdom you gleaned from those experiences to help someone else and make a huge difference in theirs.
In the end, everyone in the town embraces Lauren with open arms, so her “family” becomes more extensive than she ever dreamed.
Hallmark avoids religious overtones to attract non-religious viewers; however, nuggets of faith used to be more prevalent in past movies. Standards for these movies, such as no pre-marital “relations” or questionable behavior, are run through a conservative filter, which is what attracts Hallmark’s base, at least until recently.
In Candace Cameron Bure’s past movie, A Shoe Addict’s Christmas, an angel communicates God’s divine intervention in our lives to help keep us on the right path.
Two of my favorite lines from Christmas Town are found in the letters from Lauren’s father:
It’s better to walk life’s path with love and faith than to stand still in fear and inaction.
Lauren’s dad also offers this message of faith:
Where there’s faith, there’s hope, and we hang onto it–another door can open.
Can’t we all relate to this? We want to follow our hearts when it comes to love interests, job changes, moving to a new city, and a host of other possible avenues life opens up for us. What keeps us from taking a leap of faith? Fear. Lauren shows us what it looks like to walk in faith instead of fear when she nixes moving to Springfield after all and stays in Christmas Town. Her faith is rewarded with all of her heart’s desires.
Life’s detours aren’t always setbacks. Sometimes they are recalculations to get us on the right path to our destiny.
Even Dylan’s prayers are answered. Two scenes show him praying that Lauren won’t leave town. This is where we find hope–knowing our prayers are heard by a God who loves us and has a good plan for our lives.
Loving Your Neighbors
Christmas Town also includes a concept found in the Second Commandment: love your neighbor as yourself.
When the neighboring town of Rocklin experiences the tragedy of devastating fire, the inn at Christmas Town houses them during the rebuild.
Lauren coordinates a “Rebuild Rocklin” charity drive, with the help of the Salvation Army.
Dylan keeps donating his own winter coats to kids who need them more than he does.
Gloria retires from teaching so Lauren can have her job and set up a life in Christmas Town.
When Betty is overwhelmed with business at her cafe and is short-handed, Lauren steps up and helps her get the job done.
In our self-centered world where people are motivated by “what’s in it for them,” we are reminded we are on planet Earth to serve others, not just ourselves. It’s not about what we can get–it’s about what we can give to make the world a better place.
The Power of Words
Lauren often pauses to re-read the letters her father had someone mail to her for years after his passing. In these letters, he offers her advice, encouragement, love, support, and approval. She savors each sentence, and his inspiring words help her reflect and make wise choices.
Your words have power. What words are you speaking over your kids? Your spouse? Your own life? Words should always be life-giving, not life-stealing. Does your tongue drip with blessings or curses? Words produce fruit that is bitter or sweet.
Christmas Town is one of Hallmark’s deeper and more meaningful movies from the 2019 holiday season.
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|Image: Crown Media, United States, LLC
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