Affirmation: I possess the Christmas spirit all year long.
Miracle on 34th Street was released in May of 1947. It originally had the word Christmas in the title but because of the release date it was removed. How do I know this? My husband, Sandy and I went to visit his mom, Yolanda, this last weekend. She lives in Savannah, GA and they were having a fund raiser at the local original Savannah theatre showing Miracle on 34th Street. We had all seen it many times and we knew it was delightful but we went simply to share the afternoon together and to support the Humans Society. Once again, I was wrong! Watching this classic, corny movie in the midst of a crowded theatre was a remarkably different experience than watching it at home alone or in a small group. We laughed, sighed, applauded and shared all the clever and tender moments that has kept this film so meaningful.
It’s definitely a secular film. There is no mention of a God or Christ, other than in the frequently used word “Christmas” but what I consider to be the spirit of Christmas permeates every scene. Kris Kringle, The real Santa Claus only cares about making others feel valued, loved and important. It’s not about the physical gifts he’s been told to promote, it’s what they represent to the child or adult that is asking for them. He brings people together for their betterment and the betterment of all. He spreads his charm and good will like a net over everyone with whom he comes into contact. He converts the unbelieving, skeptical Maureen O’Hara and her disenchanted child, Natalie Wood into people with imagination and faith. He even converts the USPS.
I saw a cartoon this second week of December, 2014 in the USA Today where two children were standing in front of Santa and asking for world peace and good will towards men. He asked them if they’d consider an Xbox instead. The news this week was so sad and tragic that I couldn’t listen. It only took a glance at the headlines to see the horror that we are perpetuating on our fellow human being. Has the devil won? Has “Satan” truly become the ruler of this world? It would be so easy to believe we are at the end of times but it is Christmas. It’s a time to promote hope, peace and love for everyone whether one is or is not labeled “Christian.” We know what He came to do. He came to show the world that we were put here to love and to serve and that I believe, is the one true truth. He was here to raise our level of awareness to a higher purpose. He wasn’t concerned with the rules and regulations. He was only concerned with the person and their well-being. He was here to bring comfort to those who most needed it and to make uncomfortable those who are able to be of comfort.
I know there are many believers who believe theirs is the only way. There’s the joke about the Catholic, Baptists, Mormon, you choose, who arrive in heaven and ask St. Peter why he whispers every time he gets close to this huge wall that is there. Why is there a wall at all? He tells them that the Catholics, Baptists, Mormons, you choose, are on the other side of the wall and “they believe they are the only ones up here.” Oh, to be so sure. To know that because you are right, you are saved and the rest of the world is damned and how truly sad. I read a wonderful quote recently, “You can be right or you can love.”
One of my greatest strengths is my gift of perseverance. I believe it’s the reason I have accomplished most things in my life. I truly believe if I simply “hang in there” I will learn or finish whatever it is I’m working upon. The other side of perseverance is stubbornness and I am as guilty of that as I am proud of my determination. Just ask my hubby. This summer, for example, I wanted to walk a new path around Bass Lake in the NC mountains. We headed out and after an hour we hadn’t reached the lake yet. Sandy reasonably wanted to turn around. Turn around! I couldn’t even imagine it. We hadn’t even seen the lake yet. Finally, a few minutes later we arrived. I knew we were close. I was right! Now he reasonably wanted to go back the way we had come. Go back the same way! No no no! We needed to follow the path and head up the other way. I had been told it was the same distance. I knew I was right! He agreed and we got lost and four hours later, we finally found our way to our starting point.
Sandy not only didn’t leave me, he barely scolded me. He lives a life of love, not right. It wasn’t the first time he’s had to put up with my set thinking and I am here to confess he is not the only person in my life with whom I’ve exhibited this trait. It’s one of those personality shadows that interferes with the quality of my relationships and which I have only recently begun to understand. Perhaps, this is why I’ve been granted these sixty eight years of life so I can continue to recognize how flawed I truly am. What was Pope Francis’ first message? “I am a sinner, pray for me.” Oh, yes, we are all flawed but as long as we don’t believe we are above or beyond anyone else, we can embrace our humanness and know that God created us just as we are. She/He created the the miracles of this universe and we are, each one of us, one of those miracles.
Christmas is not an easy holiday for many many people but perhaps it’s because the true meaning has been lost. Christ is coming, God. He comes again and again every year and I believe he remains with all those who choose to love, care and be of service to the world. The Christ, the Savior is here in the hearts of all who know the importance of spreading the net of compassion and love over everyone whose lives they touch. That miracle on 34th street is the miracle that can be ours should we choose to open our minds and our hearts to The Christ.
May you have a Blessed Holiday Season and a life filled with the awareness of God’s love.