Hallmark’s The Gift of Peace explores the connection between grief and faith through an authentic depiction of what happens to people when they lose someone. No two people grieve the same way—that’s a fact many of us have grown to understand throughout our lives, but what people seldom address, especially in overt Christian films, is the anger that comes with it all.
As a Christian, many films that focus on faith often heighten quoting The Bible at every turn. But that’s not how most of us talk. Yes, we pray. Yes, we remind people of specific verses when they’re in a particular situation, but there’s a language that screenplays often use that makes it sound forced as opposed to organic. However, in this film, the language feels natural because the focus is on healing through a powerful message instead of preaching.
As a heroine, walking us through Traci’s grief by allowing us flashbacks to understand the ties she and her husband had with art was a beautiful decision. Sometimes, those we lose are the very people we share our dreams with, and after losing them, we lose all sorts of sparks. To watch her struggle with her art as much as her faith allowed viewers to understand that grief isn’t just something you get over after a while. It stays with you—moves you, changes you, and forces you to rewrite and question everything you thought you knew.
It might be my familiarity with grief, but it was easy to understand why Traci stopped believing and how grief took over her. When we’re told that God loves us and He’s for us, but then we lose someone we cherish, it’s natural to question how a loving God could allow harm to come to His children. If we are to believe that they’re in a better place—happier and healthier than we are here on earth—it still doesn’t make missing them on this earth an easy task.
But The Gift of Peace makes it clear that we heal by helping others in our pain, which is generally a message executed commonly in holiday films. What is the true spirit of Christmas if not making someone else’s day a little brighter? It’s not an easy task to accomplish when we’re so consumed by heartache, but when it does become possible, the healing process begins. And Traci isn’t the only one whose grief stopped her from doing what connected her to the person she loves. Regina (Princess Davis) losing her voice after her mother passed away is one of the most accurate depictions of grief I’ve heard.
I didn’t lose my singing voice when my father died, but I know exactly what it means to lose words because I couldn’t write for a while. Through their journeys, both women showcase how grief and loss take hold of a person and strangle the best of them out. In talking through their heartaches together, both women help one another see that they aren’t alone in carrying a burden too heavy for a human heart to grasp. In leaning on one another and believing in each other, the pain becomes easier to withstand as they understand that there are ways to honor the person still while they’re living on earth.
Lastly, while the romance arc in The Gift of Peace isn’t as powerful as the renewal of faith and the importance of finding people to lean on, it was still a lovely story that made for a sweet ending. As two people who understand the colossal loss of losing a partner, Traci and Michael could lean on one another in a second chance that allows them to be happy while moving forward in such a way that ensures the legacy of their former spouses lives on.
Similar Christmas Film Recommendation: Kirk Franklin’s The Night Before Christmas
The Gift of Peace isn’t a perfect film, but it’s a beautiful exhibition of the fact that love and anger sometimes coexist before healing truly transpires. It’s also a stunning reminder that just because we abandon God in our rage or grief, He doesn’t abandon us; instead, He waits patiently for us to return. He understands us in our heartaches, and where our faith is concerned, even the size of a mustard seed truly does count as something tremendous for Him.