Summary: In this sermon, I use the classic Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street to illustrate some important spiritual truths about the real identity of Jesus and how the story of Jesus is fact and not fiction.
A. Every year, I look forward to our 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 than the gift of Jesus.
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 yet?”
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, indeed, is a gift that keeps on giving!
C. I have named today’s sermon “Miracle on 1st Century Street” because I want to use the classic Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street to illustrate some important spiritual truths.
Miracle on 34th Street:
A. So, how many of you have seen that 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street? It is one of my favorites.
1. The film stars Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, and Natalie Wood
2. It’s a Thanksgiving tradition for NBC to air the film right after the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
3. There have been four remakes of the movie, as well as a Broadway musical, but of the ones I’ve seen, I like original the best.
4. Let me give you the “Reader’s Digest” version of the story.
B. 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 certain department store Santa might be the real thing.
1. As the story progresses, we discover that Maureen O’Hara’s character, Doris Walker, has been disappointed in life and in love.
2. She is determined to make sure that her little nine-year-old daughter, Susan (a very young Natalie Wood), is raised with no illusions about life.
3. And so, for little Susan, there are no fairy tales, no make believe, and certainly no Santa Claus.
4. Susan is a bright little girl with a strangely adult seriousness about her.
5. Susan’s matter-of-fact attitude toward life worries their neighbor, Fred Gailey, who is very much interested in Susan’s mother.
6. But 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.
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 about the drunken Santa to the event’s director, Doris Walker, she persuades Kris to replace him.
2. He does such a good job that he is hired to be the Santa for Macy’s flagship New York City store on 34th Street.
D. After Kris goes through the store’s training, he ignores the store’s instructions to steer parents to goods that Macy's wants to sell, and tells one woman shopper to go to another store 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 tells him that she intends to become a loyal Macy’s customer because of this good service.
2. Kris later informs another mother that Macy’s archrival store, Gimbels, has better skates for her daughter.
E. Fred, who is an attorney and Doris’ neighbor, takes Doris’ daughter Susan, to see Kris Kringle, the store Santa.
1. When Doris finds out what Fred did, she lectures Fred about filling Susan’s mind with fantasy.
2. Meanwhile, little Susan witnesses Kris talking and singing with a Dutch World War II orphan girl in her native tongue and begins to wonder if perhaps Kris is really Santa.
3. When Doris asks Kris to tell Susan the truth about who he is, Kris surprises her by insisting that he really is Santa Claus.