Coming up in Worship

by | Nov 26, 2023

One of my favorite activities to do the week of Thanksgiving is to watch movies with a Christmas theme. Hallmark produces most of the movies I choose. There are more choices than time to watch them all, but the commonality between them reminds me of the similarities of messages found among greeting cards. A man or woman is in a place where they would not ordinarily be. Some obstacle or challenge presents itself. They meet someone, and somehow pieces fall into place and they live happily ever after.

I’ve often thought of creating a worship series based on one or more Hallmark movies. After all, many of their themes remind me of the ups and downs of many stories found in scripture.

Christmas is a time of anticipation. Most of us have preferences for how the season should play out based on imperfect memories of past holidays. And although we can picture the expected outcome, life happens in ways we hadn’t anticipated.

Welcome to our series Letters. If you prefer books to movies, I encourage you to read along with me as our imagination wanders from the pages of Nancy Naigle’s book to ancient times, when persons and communities also faced life-altering decisions.

Weeping, we sat beside the rivers of Babylon thinking of Jerusalem.
Psalm 137:1

Of course, the movie, Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa, is available from the Hallmark Channel if this is your media of choice.

As I searched through Hallmark’s library, reading dozens of summaries, Babylon kept popping up in my subconscious. In scripture, Babylon is a city, a region, and an empire. Most of all, Babylon is a place of exile.

Abram and Sarai, better known as Abraham and Sarah, were originally from Babylonia. It was in Babylon that the community attempted to build a tower tall enough to reach heaven. The people of Judea were exiled in Babylon.

As with most movies, biblical stories are about specific people. While, at the same time, the stories reveal things about ourselves. We’re not only invited to take on roles as we experience the story, we are the story.

As the daughter of military parents, Lisa Palmer lived an unsettled life. And as an adult, she wanted to return to Evergreen, the town where she was born, to spend Christmas. Lisa’s family left Evergreen when she was seven. Before her family left, Lisa put a letter to Santa in the box at Daisy’s General Store asking that she could spend every Christmas in Evergreen. Daisy, the store owner, suggests she make a slight, but subtle change to her letter that every year be “like” Christmas in Evergreen.

The people of Judah’s exile in Babylon came because of turning to other gods and losing their connection with the One True God. While in exile, they longed for holidays like they had when God was an everyday presence in their lives.

Christmas is particularly situated as a time of longing for God’s presence. Anticipating what might be possible when God lives among people, beginning as a helpless baby born in a place that new parents wouldn’t choose.

May your holiday be like Christmas in Evergreen. May your Christmas be filled with the peace and joy that Christ alone brings to all believers.

I pray that you will join us each Sunday morning at 10:30 am. We share our weekly episodes on our YouTube channel. We go live at 10:30 am. You can find these links along with more information about us, or join our live broadcast on our website at

Pastor Tommy

Nancy Naigle. Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa. Hallmark Publishing..© Crown Media Family Networks, 2019.

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