We end our series, Letters, on the last day of 2023, realizing that 2024 is a presidential election year. On January 7, we begin our new series, Country, based on a book titled, Ours was the Shining Future: The Story of the American Dream. We transition from Hall Mark movie to the cold, hard reality of life in the 21st century.
The American Dream, depicted in subtle ways by Hall Mark movies, is the promise of a happier, healthier, more prosperous future. This dream of a better tomorrow is part of our national identity.
In the final chapters of our companion book for Letters, Lisa and Oliver reach their dream of owning their own store while living in their choice of places they call home. Thomas expands on his dream of expanding his business. And moves to Evergreen to pursue his romantic interest in Michelle. The town of Evergreen recovers from the loss of traditions that set them a part as a perfect place to raise a family.
It’s a Hallmark movie, after all, where short-term setbacks evaporate by the end, and dreams come true.
Dreams are a common media for illuminating a better tomorrow. In dreams that inspire us, we’re unencumbered by what could otherwise be impassable obstacles.
Luke tells us that the Holy family took Jesus to the temple for dedication shortly after His birth. While at the temple, two prophets affirm Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah. From Jerusalem, the family made their way back to the home in Nazareth. But Matthew focused on a different part of their story.
An angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and told him to take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt.
In Matthew’s telling, a group of visitors travel in search of the newborn King. Stopping first by the royal palace, they raised the curiosity and jealousy of Herod, the reigning king of the region. After the visitors departed, by another route, Joseph is warned in a dream to flee.
The Holy family immigrates to Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod, where they stay until his reign ends. We don’t know a lot about their time in Africa. But Egypt was a center of learning for that part of the world, and Jesus likely had access to this center of knowledge.
Joseph’s dreams continue to guide his family, and they eventually return to Nazareth. These events unfolded in accordance with ancient prophecy.
Do you have dreams about a different tomorrow? If so, did actual dreams help shape your hopes? What hopes do you have for the New Year?
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Parts of our series was inspired by Nancy Naigle. Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa. Hallmark Publishing..© Crown Media Family Networks, 2019.