Film Friday Christmas Day Classic: Miracle on 34th Street

I love this scene where Father Christmas meets a girl who has no hearing and immediately starts signing in order to communicate with her. He quickly chooses the language that works best for her. We often say that God is not like father Christmas, well on this occasion, I think he is.

What is Christmas if not the perfect example of God speaking our language? Sending signs and messages to earth. Angels appear and reappear with various things to say, stars gleam in the sky, strangers come saddle sore from afar, and cousins and strangers speak out unexpected prophecies from God. And ultimately, God himself puts on flesh and turns up in the form of a vulnerable, dependent baby, entrusting himself to a young couple. Not God as a gleaming, conquering warrior, but God in approachable, accessible form.

I’m so glad that God chooses to communicate in ways that make sense for us. We don’t have to be spiritual giants, or holy heroes. We don’t have to be geniuses or a cut above the rest. God by-passes all that, and speaks our language. He continues to reach out to us in the ordinary and the every day. After all, he did invent ‘the ordinary and the every day’, so perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us that we can bump into him there. Just as those Christmas shepherds did.

As Kriss Kringle communicates with this particular girl another child looks on. Envious perhaps, curious certainly. She is too smart, too sophisticated for this sort of thing. Yet she sees the joy and the wonder of the encounter in this other girl. I heard a question posed in a discussion on radio recently, where the interviewer, playing devil’s advocate, said something like, ‘What would you say if I said religion insults my intelligence?’ In the Bible Paul himself got there ahead of that argument. He quite clearly points out that it may well do just that. ‘God chooses the foolish things to confound the wise,’ he writes in 1 Corinthians 1 v 27. And in the Old Testament the prophet Jeremiah (in chapter 9 vv 23-24 of his book) encourages the wise to not boast of their wisdom, or the strong to boast of their strength, but for everyone to get to know the living God and to boast of him instead.

To finish here’s a festive movie trailer.

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