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The return to Hope Valley was perfect!

When Calls the Heart Season 7 Episode 0 serves as our first look at the upcoming season (which seems too far away) and provided a lot for us to ponder while we wait for it to begin.

It's hard to believe it's been a year since Little Jack was born and even longer since we lost Jack.

Elizabeth has always had the support of Hope Valley, and she needed it more than ever as she reached another milestone without her beloved Jack.

Jack never even knew that Elizabeth was pregnant and that somehow makes Jack's growth even more bittersweet. Elizabeth is celebrating another holiday without her love, and something as significant as Jack's first birthday brought him to everyone's mind.

Of course, Elizabeth had a lot to keep her busy and to keep her mind from drifting too far into her memories.

She was leading the school choir to entertain the town for their Christmas celebration, helping Nathan and Allie pick out the perfect Christmas tree, and enjoying the festive nature of Hope Valley during the festival planned by Lucas.

Everyone in town has settled in nicely, and they're all calling Hope Valley home now.

Lucas wanted to relish the feeling he had when traveling abroad with his family for the holidays because it was the time of year he most appreciated his family which was separated during the year.

Recreating that feeling of love and togetherness in his new home was Lucas' gift to Hope Valley, and the Christmas Festival took off like a rocket.

It was sad that so many people were eager to criticize Lucas behind his back for taking on more than he could handle, but he didn't even advertise the festival, so it was the Hope Valley residents who must have spread the good word.

Lucas: Hope Valley deserves its reputation.
Elizabeth: Well, it's hard to think of anything that can top all of this.

Henry suggested that Lucas was in it for the extra profit he was making, but nothing about Lucas' behavior proved that to be true.

More people were bustling in that town than ever before, and nothing Lucas had planned accounted for the explosive popularity of the festival. 

Leave it to Lucas to run out of food.


The entire town came together and shared their food with visitors from far and wide, and I'd like to think they created a new tradition with each other that can last.

Lucas could never have done it without Clara's help, and her persistent belief in his goodness eventually urged Jesse to come around, too. Lucas hasn't had any friends in town, and it's exciting to imagine the possibilities that lie ahead thanks to that development.

Lucas was really hoping that all of his efforts would draw Elizabeth's attention, but I'm more convinced than ever that Elizabeth only has eyes for Nathan.

I'm like that. When it's right, you can just feel it.


All of the "signs" are there, and they were quite literally pointing them out during this holiday special as Nathan considered leaving Hope Valley for greener pastures.

Elizabeth was connecting again with Allie, and everything Allie felt during the hour somehow related back to Elizabeth and Nathan.

I just wish I liked Nathan as much as Elizabeth!

Maybe it seems like it's too soon for her to have fallen so hard for someone, especially since it took her so long to commit to Jack. But having a child changes things, and finding a father for Little Jack even when he has so much love and support has to be on her mind.

Nathan: How is it you found the best tree in the entire forest?
Allie: I wouldn't settle for anything else!
Elizabeth: That's the key, Allie.

Elizabeth was gutted learning of Nathan's plans to leave, but when he decided to call Hope Valley his permanent home, she was filled with relief.

All of the excitement surrounding the holiday and Little Jack's birthday instigated interesting stories for the other characters, too.

I'm especially drawn to Rosemary and Leland being childless. It continues to hurt her on a profound level, but the devoted couple still hasn't considered adoption.

With When Hope Grows featuring children in need of homes and Rosemary and Leland's previous interactions with them, the storyline becomes almost maudlin instead of inspiring.

There are children they could give so much love. Look at what they did for Little Jack!

I'm keeping hope alive that this story will take another turn when When Calls the Heart Season 7 begins in earnest. 

Bill's misadventure with Little Jack's birthday gift got played lightly, but once the gift was revealed, it was understandable why he was in such dire straights trying to find it.

There is no doubt that Little Jack's life will be filled with fine memories of the father he never knew when friends offer to him such beautiful gifts.

I'd like to see Bill and Lucas find love in Hope Valley, and Molly, Florence, and Fiona are prime candidates for the handsome bachelors.

It was very obvious that Bill's inability to properly phrase his thoughts had led to his gift dilemma and Molly handled the situation perfectly.

It would have been horrible if someone had stolen the prized compass, but if Bill had asked better questions, then he wouldn't have been so frazzled.

He's been an Inspector and he's a judge. The man has to get it together! 

Florence has grown so much since the show first began, and her friendship with Fiona is one of my favorites. Their gifts for each other were so sweet. I'd like to see Hope Valley honor them in some way.

Both of them take their jobs as an operator very seriously, working very demanding hours. Fiona went above and beyond helping Faith and Carson reconnect for Christmas.

Hopefully, we all learned what a terrible idea it is to play with travel surprises, especially during the holiday! The best part about Carson and Faith missing each other was the introduction of a traveling salesman, Walter.

Walter was in Hope Valley for the Christmas Festival, of course, but we got to know more about him when Carson was fumbling his way back to Hope Valley after his trip to nowhere.

Walter's presence helped Henry to step up, too, once again proving that he has a good heart. He even gave up his Christmas, so Carson and Faith could spend time together.

While Henry promised to help Walter find a job in Union City, I hope the pendulum swings so that Henry finds something for Walter to do in Hope Valley.

The guy could use some of the warmth and comfort the town has provided to Lucas and Nathan with its welcoming arms.

This Christmas celebration in Hope Valley enveloped us in its warm embrace, and I can't wait for the new season to begin. 

One of my favorite parts was the lighting and letting go of the lanterns. Lucas noted that it was something he experienced in China, but they do similar things around the world. It seems only the US is not in on that stunning tradition.

The one time I experienced it was awe-inspiring, and I'd love to know what Christmas traditions inspire you.

And, of course, please share all of your thoughts on "Home for Christmas," and don't forget that when you click the link at the top of the article, you can get the full recap of the movie, too.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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