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miracles on 34th streets and other places


on the first friday of each month at our church we gather to watch a movie as part of a program called reel life: discussions on film and faith. its been a fun gathering so far, and i hope it continues to grow and develop. this last friday we watched a classic christmas movie, miracle on 34th street, although i was surprised how many people had never actually sat down and seen the whole thing.
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what an awesome movie. ok, the speed of dialogue has evolved since 1947. and the quality of acting. and the sound editing. and alot of other things, to be sure, but the story is so good that the movie doesn't really suffer at all, and, to be honest, its all part of its charm. that's as good a word as any for it: charm. its a charming movie. it ends happily ever after and all that.
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but, for me, this movie has always been a bit more than charming. there's just something about the title that connects this kris kringle story to another miracle that occurred on some unnamed street in bethlehem. the miracle of Christmas, for me, is not a one-time only miracle, like some sale at your local used car lot. yes, the incarnation is THE MIRACLE of the ages, and certainly the miracle that we remember at christmas. but if all we do is remember, then we are historians only, or impotent peddlers of sentimentality.
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but i believe we are more than that. i believe there is more to christmas than remembering. i believe there are still christmas miracles, even on the 34th streets of our lives. i don't believe that there is a fat man in a red suit who brings more stuff to those who already have too much. but i do believe that right jolly old elf of a character can remind me of my call to give good gifts, to share what i have with others, and to be like a child if i want to see the kingdom of heaven, among other things.
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when i watch this movie, it makes me want to write my own letter to santa. not a letter about what toys i want (and lets be honest: there are times when i want toys), but about how i want to better live out the spirit of christmas - how i want to be a part of modern day miracles. i want to write a letter to santa to thank him for making me want to be an incarnation of hope and life and light. if i can do that at all, in the midst of my own internal culture of greed, selfishness, and entitlement, then it really will be a miracle.
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and it is possible! hallelujah, the miracles of Christmas are possible right here in my own life!
greg.

Comments

nysewanders said…
Well said. Thanks for sharing.

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