It may seem that the Hallmark Channel version of Christmas and the real-world Christmas headlines this season are millions of miles apart, and that may be on purpose. The Hallmark Channel [VIDEO] and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries have laid claim as a refuge of calm and peace through the holiday season—a place of soothing predictability in the plot, free of the screaming headlines heralding the latest investigations of corruption, collusion, and misconduct from every sociopolitical corner.

Even the hard-hitting Washington Post has put in a vote for the Hallmark Channel brand of comfort. Chicago comedian Cassie Belek’s editorial for December 18 describes her personal journey to Hallmark Christmas conversion and concludes that in these times “women deserve it,” referring to the two-hour psychic getaways decorated in holiday glitz.

To its credit, the Hallmark Christmas television franchise is making concerted efforts to incorporate fuller diversity in casts and through storylines in the current season, and that continued change is needed throughout the television industry. Another noticeable statement in the offerings of the season is the depiction of Christmas for the military family. The revelations that came this week regarding the death of Army Sgt. La David Johnson extols and validates his heroism in being hit as many as 18 times under militant gunfire in Niger last October. The same firefight took the lives of three fellow soldiers, and the losses for all these families will mean that Christmas will never be the same.

Johnson’s mother insists “I want the truth...but there’s no closure.” Getting that closure is sure to be a long and painful process.

Thousands of military families celebrate “versions” of Christmas. One may be with relatives and family numbers. One may include opening presents chosen for children on Christmas morning. If they are blessed to have the presence of their military service member, they may celebrate on whatever day is possible around the actual date.

Here are four Hallmark Christmas movie selections that treat the struggle of military families with respect and a certain degree of realism for TV land.

'Home for Christmas Day'

Catherine Bell stars as the widowed mother of a teenage daughter who falls in love with a young soldier about to deploy from a local army base. Mom is resistant to the relationship, which naturally pulls the two young lovers closer together. On the day he is about to deploy, the mother reveals her own story of losing her military husband, and thus, her desire to protect her daughter from the same pain. During a school choir performance, the soldier’s name is read among those recently lost.

The daughter is devastated and has only her mother to understand. Through grief, mother and daughter come to understand that protecting someone from pain may also prevent them from fully experiencing love. As mom begins to let down her emotional walls, Christmas dinner delivers Tyler to the door. He was mistakenly identified as a casualty, and becomes the dearest Christmas present, arriving on crutches.

Catherine Bell can become too one-dimensional ala her “Good Witch” string of characters, but her performance in this film is far more relatable.

'Operation Christmas'

This 2016 Hallmark Channel Christmas story stars familiar Hallmark stars, Tricia Helfer and Marc Blucas as two single parents, Olivia and Scott, who meet on a ski vacation. When Olivia realizes that the man she feels a new instant connection with is in the armed forces, she has reservations and backs away. The newly-acquainted families share a very bonding Christmas before Scott gets news that he will be deploying.

Olivia begins to work with putting together a Christmas program involving spouses and family from the military and begins to see the real daily dilemmas and trials of military wives. The supporting cast who portray these spouse brings a refreshing reality to these roles. Olivia becomes bonded to this new support system, even helping to deliver a baby. She also gets wisdom from Scott's mother, a military wife of many decades, who tells her that the love that “lights up” her son's face is real and strong enough to stand the trials. Olivia told Scott not to expect her to be waiting for him, but does she have a change of heart?

'Christmas Homecoming'

One of the niches unique to #Hallmark Channel Christmas movies is that they don’t all revolve around 20-something central characters. This feature from the 2017 lineup brings together Julie Benz, known recently from “Hawaii Five-O [VIDEO],” and Michael Shanks as Amanda and Master Sergeant Jim Mullins. Amanda is still healing from the loss of her military husband, saving his last words to her from the past, a hopeful Christmas promise of coming home. She rents a room to Jim while he rehabilitates after an injury in Afghanistan. This slow-burning story of coming to healing and love again has some powerful and tender moments. Among the most memorable are ones that portray Amanda finally coming to the decision to pack away her husband’s things, and put her wedding ring in a drawer. The scene revolving around the phone message also turns pivotal.

One of the most powerful moments comes during a funeral service for a fallen soldier. Amanda is there as a supportive spouse who understands, and part of Mullins’ role is to do whatever he can to bring comfort and closure to the surviving spouse. The new widow tells him that she may never be ready to know the details of how her husband died, but what she does want to know is the music that he listened to the morning before his death. Little things mean the most.

Master Sergeant Mullins decides to remain in the military, and Amanda struggles with whether she is ready to endure the rigors of being a military wife again. The scenes at the bus are satisfying, despite the too-easy final scene.

'A Christmas Visitor'

This Hallmark Christmas classic goes all the way back to 2002 for its original airing but already has been screened several times this season as a perennial favorite. The Boyaijan family is still picking up the pieces of their lives after losing their son in the war. Their daughter is facing a possible breast cancer diagnosis, and no one is truly celebrating Christmas. The spirit changes when Mr. Boyaijan picks up a soldier on the road one night and the family welcomes him into their home.

The considerable talents and screen presences of William Devane, Meredith Baxter, and Dean McDermott combine to create a drama that stands well for more than a decade and reminds everyone that a life well-lived, in military service or otherwise, is a lasting gift.

These films can get a salute along with the Christmas songs.A marathon of the 2017 Christmas movies runs Christmas Eve through Christmas Day on the Hallmark Channel. Older titles screen regularly through January 1. #2017 Hallmark Christmas movies #military-themed Hallmark Christmas movies