We pushed ourselves away from the table, groaning with pleasure and patting our bellies – another Thanksgiving dinner resting snuggly under our belts. We stood with difficulty, and ambled on out to the living room to enjoy another family tradition – watching the original version of The Miracle on 34 th Street. We love to watch Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in black and white and are delighted every year when eight year old Susan discovers that her friend, Kris Kringle, who she at first thinks is just a nice old man with whiskers, really is Santa Clause! By the end of the movie, she has come to believe.
One of the most poignant scenes in the movie is when the children line up at Macy’s to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they want for Christmas. Susan watches with growing amazement as Kris, the store Santa, seems to know what each child wants before they ask him! Then, a little orphan girl from Holland steps up. She looks sadly at her feet as her adoptive mother explains that she won’t be able to tell Santa what she wants for Christmas, because he doesn’t speak her language. But, Kris breaks in and greets the child in her native tongue. Her eyes light up, and she grins with delight! “Oh, Sinter Klaas!” she cries, as she throws herself onto Santa’s lap. Her grief and homesickness vanish for a time as they sing a familiar carol together, and talk of how Christmas is done in her own country. For just a little while, her strangeness vanishes, and she feels at home. Better than the gift she hoped to receive on Christmas morning is the gift she is given at that moment – the gift of belonging.
All of us have the basic human need to feel we belong, somewhere, to someone. That is why Christmas is both the most loved and the most difficult holiday of the year. When you are surrounded by family and friends, and have enough of all you need, it is a celebration indeed! But, when you are alone, or out of work, or ill, it can make you feel like a stranger – an outsider, standing on the sidelines, watching the party going on, with no one who speaks your language.
But, a miracle has happened on your street! Jesus knows what you need before you even ask him! He speaks to you in a language that you can understand, and makes your eyes light up! He draws you into the family of God; makes you a part of something so wonderful, you can’t help but grin from ear to ear. He gives you the gift of belonging, and heals your homesick heart. So, don’t spend Christmas looking at your feet, feeling like you don’t belong! Come! Spend your Christmas as a part of the Zion family. Let the carols lift your spirits. Let the story of Jesus’ birth become a part of your story. Believe that miracles do happen! Let one happen to you!
May the song of the angels fill your days with joy!
Pastor Barb <><
“It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world” John 4:4