My lovely wife loves Hallmark movies of all persuasions. She watches them a bit at a time to unwind from the day. One of the Quality Time experiences I can share with her is to sit and watch them with her. Normally if I were honest, I'm not really into them, but I've gotten hooked on the "Love Comes Softly" series based on the Janet Oke books. They are sort of like Hallmark meets Little House on the Prairie, but they appeal to me. Last night while we watched one, it hit me ... "so that's what it is!" You see, these movies remind me of the things I love about my home. They kindle a desire in my soul for simpler things. Sure, sometimes the dialogue is cheesy and the plot predictable, but they are peppered with basic Christian values our culture, even our church culture, has deemed odd or fanatical. At every turn the townspeople of Anderson Corner are giving of themselves for the good of their neighbors, giving God the glory. The stories aren't saturated with everything working out just fine, either. Babies die, people die of infection, plagues, and scarlet fever. Crops don't get rain, farms get repossessed. Real stuff. All the while they rely on God, pray, and trust Him for the outcome. Sometimes, it works out. Sometimes it doesn't. It is good to have entertainment that reminds me of the way things could be, maybe should be. Frankly, it reminds me of Martin's Mill, the Martin's Mill I grew up in. The "general store", the school, and everyone working together to help their neighbors.
Last night was the hardest episode yet. In the story, an orphan train came to town with 7 or so kids who had no families. They lined them up in front of the church and families sat out there and picked like they would pick a good horse or a used car (wagon). It was heartbreaking. This really happened back in the day. In fact, there are still events sort of like this now. It warmed my heart that family after family who had love to give stepped up to take in the children and give them a home. The train departed empty, in the name of Jesus and the Christian ethic. Oh, if we would empty the "trains" of our day. Yes, we may hurt deeply, but that only means we've loved deeply.
These shows appeal to me because they are overtly attempting to portray the way of Christians in the harsh west. They had faith, love for one another, unity, and a spirit of humility before God. I would like these people.