Christmas movies are great, but real life flips script

Bridal Registry, Clarion Herald

The Hallmark Channel has begun showing Christmas movies.

I love Christmas and Christmas movies. I suppose you can call me a “sentimental fool.” Watching the twists and turns in the stories, which are love stories at their heart, and concluding with the couple finally getting together leaves a calm smile on my face.

Having painted the fantasy picture of the Hallmark movies, reality isn’t always so accommodating or gentle. It is true, at the beginning, couples seem to overlook and ignore the imperfections of the other. They are so charmed by the idea of love and marriage that they are unable to see the pitfalls. They believe the feelings they have for one another will last through all of life’s ups and downs. 

Yes, they intend to make their lives work out like a Hallmark movie.

Life is a reality exercise

Unfortunately, life doesn’t quite go like a Hallmark movie. Instead, people come face to face with complications never imagined, from job issues to ailments.

An aspect that is so unknown or expected is that of having babies and raising them. It’s expected that when the children come on board, the parents will be able to teach and manage them. 

Each individual born is a distinctly different personality. The new additions to the family don’t understand the parents’ expectations for life; in fact, they will have their own ideas. All of this makes for an interesting adventure.

As families grow each year and lives become more complicated, it’s important to have resources to call upon. The first and foremost resource is God. Our vocation comes directly from him for our formation and the benefit of those with whom we share life. Maintaining a strong focus and relationship with God and his Son will enable answers to be evident.

At this time of year, Christmas is our time to turn our undivided attention to the birth of an infant. This baby brings joy and peace; however, he also brings life examples with him.

The manner of Christ’s life is a strong example for each person to follow and implement in life. Christ lived a tumultuous life by following his Father’s will. John the Baptist reminds us to “turn to God and away from sin.”

This is what Advent is all about: It’s all about anticipation, putting worldly focus aside, seeking an intimate relationship with Christ as individuals and as families.

Talk it out with each other

Another resource for individuals or couples feeling overwhelmed at this special time is counseling. One never sees that on the Hallmark channel; however, it does enable one to hear another perspective and how some of the elements being experienced can be handled.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans has the Catholic Counseling Service available to assist you. Call  Cecilia at 861-4345 Monday through Friday. God bless and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Deacon Dave Farinelli, LPC-S, LMFT, NCC, is clinical supervisor and counselor at the Catholic Counseling Service. He can be reached at

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