Summary: In this sermon, I use the movie Miracle on 34th Street to illustrate the difference between fact and fiction. The miracle of Jesus’ birth and life on 1st Century Street are altogether true and are worth believing in.
A. Good morning and welcome to our annual special worship service on the Sunday before Christmas.
1. I hope and pray that you have a very happy and healthy Christmas holiday filled with much joy and peace.
2. Although none of us knows the exact day when Jesus Christ was born, His coming into the world is one of the most important moments in history.
3. And with regard to our salvation – His coming is the beginning of our salvation.
4. Jesus is God’s gift to us – salvation is a gift, it cannot be earned or purchased, it must simply be received.
5. None of us will receive a greater gift in all our lives.
B. During this Christmas season you will likely receive some other gifts as well.
1. I heard a story about a boy who received an electric guitar for Christmas from his uncle.
2. After the holidays were over, his uncle came for a visit, and the young boy said, “Thank you so much for the electric guitar you gave me for Christmas. It’s the best present I ever got.”
3. “That’s great,” said his uncle. “Have you learned how to play it?”
4. “Oh no, I don’t play it,” the little fellow said. “My mom gives me a dollar a day not to play it during the day and my dad gives me five dollars a week not to play it at night.”
5. That’s a gift that keeps on giving!
C. Today’s sermon is the second in our short, three part series called Christmas Classics.
1. Each week we are using one of the Classic Christmas movies to illustrate the spiritual ideas we are trying to grasp.
2. I’ve titled today’s lesson “Miracle on 1st Century Street,” which might cause you to think about the classic movie Miracle on 34th Street.
3. How many of you have seen that 1947 film? It is one of my favorites.
A. Miracle on 34th Street (also titled The Big Heart in the UK) is a 1947 film starring Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn.
1. The film won several Academy Awards including one for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Edmund Gwenn who plays Kris Kringle won the award)
2. It was also nominated for Best Picture, losing to Gentleman’s Agreement.
3. In a Thanksgiving tradition, NBC airs the film every year after the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
4. There have been four remakes of the movie, as well as a Broadway musical and a Lux Radio Theater broadcast adaptation, but none are as good, in my opinion, as the original.
5. Let’s take a look at the story.
A. Miracle on 34th Street is a story that takes place in New York City following Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and leaves people wondering whether or not a department store Santa might be the real thing.
B. As the story progresses, we discover that Maureen O’Hara’s character, Doris Walker, has been disappointed in life and in love.
1. She is determined to make sure that her little girl, Susan (a very young Natalie Wood), is raised with no illusions about life.
2. There are no fairy tales for Susan, no make believe, and certainly no Santa Claus.
3. Susan is a bright little girl with an eerily adult sedateness about her.
4. Her matter-of-fact attitude toward life worries their neighbor, Fred Gailey (John Payne), who is in love with Doris.
5. There seems to be no place in Doris and Susan’s lives for silliness whether it involves sitting on Santa’s knee or believing in the hope of romantic love.
6. Kris Kringle is also concerned. He is disturbed that Susan is growing up without the slightest bit of imagination and spends no time playing as most children do.
C. The story begins with Kris Kringle indignantly discovering that the person assigned to play Santa in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is intoxicated.
1. When he complains to the event’s director, Doris Walker, she persuades Kris to replace him.
2. He does such a fine job that he is hired to be the Santa for Macy’s flagship New York City store on 34th Street at Herald Square.
D. After Kris goes through training, he ignores the instructions to steer parents to goods that Macy’s wants to sell, and tells one woman shopper to go to another store, Schoenfeld’s, for a fire engine for her son that Macy’s doesn’t have.
1. The lady is so impressed, she tells Shellhammer, the head of the toy department about it, and that she will become a loyal Macy’s customer because of this good service.
2. Kris later informs another mother that Macy’s archrival, Gimbels, has better skates for her daughter.
E. Fred, who is an attorney and neighbor of Doris, takes the divorcee’s nine-year-old daughter Susan, to see Kris Kringle the store Santa.