By Pastor Nathan Richardson, Heartland Community Church
Miracle on 34th Street is one of the beloved Christmas classics of all time. It is a story about faith. While some people make faith as something to be easy and without struggle, most of the time in my experience faith is actually dirty, complex and mysterious. This is the type of faith that I observe in Miracle on 34th Street.
Mother (Doris) and daughter (Susan) have experienced a past full of pain. We find our that Doris has a lot of resentment against her ex-husband and does not have a lot of trust and faith outside of what can be explained with common sense. This has been passed down to Susan as a way of learning from her experience.
Kris Kringle is a new hire at Macy’s as the store Santa Clause. He believes he is the one and only Santa Clause, and people think he is crazy. Fred takes Susan to see Santa and while in line Susan discusses the idea of Santa as silly and impossible. However, the girl in line after them does not speak English as she was just adopted from Denmark. And Santa starts to speak Dutch with the girl. This amazes Susan and gives her a little faith.
As Kris Kringle’s claim of being Santa becomes bigger he is put on trial. Fred who is also a lawyer, defends him. Kris finally has all charges dropped because the post office delivers thousands of Santa letters to him at the courthouse. And if a government organization believes it, it must be true.
Christmas finally comes and Susan experiences doubt because Santa could not deliver what she wanted, a house. This was the only way she would really believe that he is real. In life we experience doubt and dismay with what happens around us. And it is okay to doubt. But do not focus on the doubt, rather focus on even the little bit of faith that you do have.
Matthew 17:20 says “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” As Susan works through her doubt, Kris gives Fred directions somewhere. On the way Susan sees a house and jumps out of the car, saying “I do believe, Santa did get it for me.”
While faith does have obstacles there are times where we have breakthroughs like Susan did with the viewing of Santa speaking Dutch. We however do not always have the big miracle like Susan experiences here. So take faith one step at a time, and focus on what little faith you might have rather than the doubt. Pray for God to grow your faith and miracles really can happen.