In December of 2003, my new husband came downstairs on a dark, chilly morning and I said, “You’re going to love being married to me at Christmastime.” Having been recently orphaned, he had mixed feelings about this “always joyful” season. So, we started some traditions -borrowing from both of our families and adding some that were just ours. I can safely say, he still loves being married to me at Christmas.
A tradition we took from my childhood is watching classic Christmas movies. One of my favorites is Miracle on 34th street. It shows my age that I still refer to the 1994 version as “the new one” even though it’s 26 years old. I grew up watching the 1947 black and white version with my dad every Christmas. This gem, starring Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, and a young Natalie Wood, is still a Christmas tradition of mine. Don’t get me wrong. I watch the new one each year too.
This scene gets me every time because it pure magic. Take a minute to watch (or re-watch) it.
Miracle on 34th Street is the story of Doris Walker who doesn't believe in Santa. She has taught her little girl not to believe either. However, her job at Macy’s, where she works in close proximity with a man who makes a very convincing santa, tempts her to quit doubting.
What is it about this story that I’m compelled to revisit every Christmas? A lot of what we do at Christmas is nostalgia. There’s something about Christmas that begs me to watch these old movies. It feels like I’m a kid again waiting for a very real santa.
As a mom, Christmas holds a different kind of magic for me now. I know I’m becoming my parents by saying this, but watching my kids experience Christmas is even better than being a kid myself. But it’s not just that. I’ve long thought that the belief in Santa doesn’t so much tarnish the magic of Christmas once the truth is discovered. Instead, it opens little minds up to the possibility of the real magic of the season.
It takes faith to believe that a jolly elf travels around the world delivering presents, but it takes the same kind of faith to believe that a teenage virgin gave birth to the son of God. That miracle took place not on 34th street, but in Bethlehem some 2,000 years ago.
Doris isn’t the only one who doubts Kris Kringle’s legitimacy which his how he finds himself in court on Christmas Eve. You have to watch this movie. Choose a version and pop some popcorn. You won’t be sorry. It’s a great reminder that at Christmas, things that can’t be explained just might be true.