Summary: Have we focused on the Christmas story so much that we have forgotten the Christmas Miracles?
Miracle on 34th Street
The Miracles of Christmas
If nothing else I am expanding my movie repertoire, I hadn’t seen any of these movies prior to starting this series. I had seen bits and pieces but never the entire movie. Miracle on 34th Street begins at the Macy Thanksgiving day parade when an Older bearded gentlemen discovers that the man who is supposed to play Santa on the float is drunk, the inebriated Santa claims that it’s cold and he is simply trying to stay warm. However the stranger reports him to the parade organizer, Doris Walker who in a panic decides to replace him with the stranger.
Well, the new Santa does such a great job on the float that Doris offers him the position of Santa at Macy’s department store where he dos a wonderful job until management discovers that he calls himself Kris Kringle and actually believes that he is Santa.
Through the manipulation of the inept company psychologist Kris is declared a danger to himself and others and is locked up in an institution. And it is up to Fred Gailey a young lawyer who lives next door to Doris and her six year old daughter to prove to the court that Kris isn’t insane but is actually Santa Claus.
A few interesting tidbits about the Movie, it was released in 1947, not at Christmas time, which would make sense but instead in May because the head of the Studio felt that more people went to the movies in May. The fact that it was a Christmas movie was kept a secret until the release. Here is the promotional cover the for the DVD’s today and here is the poster from the original release.
The opening scene of the movie, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade was actually the 1946 parade, which was a challenge because it couldn’t be reshot if there was an error. And Edmund Gwenn, the actor who played Kris Kringle was the Santa Claus in the Parade that year.
Natalie Wood, who played Doris’s daughter Susan claims that she actually thought Edmund Gwenn was Santa Claus during the production, it wasn’t unit the end of the movie that she discovered he was just an actor.
The movie won several Academy Awards that year and is included in the list of the top ten inspirational films ever made.
When I mentioned the fact that I was using the movie to one person they said “But it’s not about Christmas it’s about Santa.” No, what it is about is faith and the ability to believe in the miraculous. Or as Fred Gailey reminds us in the movie “Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to. Don’t you see? It’s not just Kris that’s on trial, it’s everything he stands for. It’s kindness and joy and love and all the other intangibles.” Which kind of sounds like Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
Sometimes I think we take Christmas for granted. We have celebrated it for so long that we have lost sight of the miraculous. It wasn’t an everyday event. But have we we lost sight of all that happened? Has the Miracle of Christmas simply become the story of Christmas?
Let’s recap the Christmas Story.
It all began 2000 years ago when an angel visited a young virgin in Israel. The Angel tells this young girl named, Mary, that she will become pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Another angel appears to Mary’s fiancé a man named Joseph and assures him that Mary has not been unfaithful despite evidence to the contrary. That Angel confirms Mary’s story as to who the father will be, God.
Before the Baby is born Mary and Joseph are required by a governmental order to return to the town of Joseph’s ancestors, thereby fulfilling a prophecy that had been made a thousand years before. Once they arrive in the town of Bethlehem, Joseph and his extremely pregnant wife are unable to find accommodations and so they end up spending the night in a stable full of animals. During the night Mary goes into labour and has the child in the stable where he is laid in a manger to sleep.
After Mary gives birth to her son even more angels appear to shepherds who are tending their sheep in nearby fields. These angels tell the shepherds about the events that had happened in town and the shepherds immediately left their flocks to fend for themselves while they go to worship this child who was born in a stable.
Meanwhile, a number of wise men from a far off land arrive on the scene bearing three gifts for the newborn child. The wise men tell the family that they have been following a star for months and that it finally came to a rest over the town of Bethlehem. However on their way to Bethlehem the wise men had encountered the local governor and informed him of their mission, how they were seeking one who would become the king of the Jews. In a fit of jealousy the Governor ordered all the children in the village under the age of two murdered. Mary and Joseph however were able to escape after being warned of the governor’s plans by yet another angel.