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Summary: In this movie, the real Santa came to town, but, he was rejected. Drop back in time, 2000 years. Jesus Christ came to his own, but he was rejected. The Miracle happens every time someone believes.

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Miracle on 34th Street

Today our Advent sermon is the first in the series of sermons that come from great Christmas movies.

There are many great Christmas movies... A Christmas Carol, A Christmas Story, White Christmas, Ernest Saves Christmas,

And my personal favorites: Home Alone and Home Alone 2

But I’m not using any of those because I don’t have enough sermons. I have picked 4: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Santa Clause (maybe) and today’s sermon – Miracle on 34th Street

For those few unfortunate souls who are not familiar with this movie let me explain:

Macy's Department Store is having their Thanksgiving Day parade and the actor playing Santa is discovered to be drunk. Doris Walker, the no nonsense special events director, persuades a bearded old man to take his place. The old man proves to be a sensation and is quickly recruited to be the store Santa at the main Macy's outlet. Ms. Walker gets concerned when she learns that he calls himself Kris Kringle and he claims to be the actual Santa Claus. Doris still has misgivings, because she has cynically trained herself, and her daughter, Susan, to reject all notions of belief and fantasy. And yet, people, especially Susan, begin to notice there is something special about Kris. He is determined to advance the true spirit of Christmas amidst the rampant commercialism around him… and is succeeding in improbable ways. He said, “Christmas is not just a day, it’s a frame of mind.” When Kris gets into a raucous conflict with the store's cruelly incompetent psychologist, Kris finds himself held at Bellevue mental hospital, where, in despair, he deliberately fails a mental examination. All seems lost until Doris' friend, Fred Gaily, reassure Kris of his worth and agrees to represent him in a court case to gain Kris’s freedom. Fred arranges a formal hearing in which he argues that Kris is sane because he is in fact Santa Claus. What ensues is a bizarre hearing in which people's beliefs are re-examined and put to the test, but even so, it's going to take a miracle for Kris to win.

The case is turned and won when the post office delivers thousands of letters to Kris and they are all addressed to Santa Claus. The judge rules that if the government says he is Santa then he must be Santa and Kris is freed.

OK you may be asking, what is spiritual about a movie? Why should you waste a sermon on it?

Nothing! Because there are a couple of themes in the movie which are points I want to make about Christmas, and Jesus.

THE VISIT

In this movie, the real Santa came to town at the time when people were looking for Santa. But, because there had been so many fakes before, he was not believed, he was rejected, and he was not accepted. Drop back in time, 2000 years. It was a time of spiritual blackness and desperation. People were crying out to God for a savior. They were looking for a deliverer.

And who comes along? THE SAVIOR… Jesus Christ. The scripture says “in the fullness of time” God answered their prayers and sent the Savior.


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