“Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to,” Attorney Fred Gailey (played by John Payne) explained to Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara) in the 1947 version of the Christmas movie “A Miracle on 34th Street”. “Don’t you see? It’s not just Kris that’s on trial, it’s everything he stands for. It’s kindness and joy and love and all the other intangibles.”
Then, Fred really makes his point to a doubting and pragmatic Doris when he states, “Look Doris, someday you're going to find that your way of facing this realistic world just doesn't work. And when you do, don't overlook those lovely intangibles. You'll discover those are the only things that are worthwhile.
I must admit, I am a sucker for Christmas movies….all of them. And, if I am completely honest – I am sucker for Christmas itself. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered why I love this time of year so much. Yes of course, the “decorations of red on a green Christmas tree” as I watch chestnuts roasting on an open fire while a winter wonderland of snow sits outside my window - all encapsulate that special holiday feeling – but there is something more than that.
Like Kris Kringle reminds us, and Fred Gailey fights for, in “A Miracle on 34th Street”, it’s the fact that Christmas is a frame of mind. It’s a time when we remember the small but powerful things that gives life true value, producing excitement and passion within us. It’s those intangibles most of us believe in with ease this time of year – you know - those things such as caring, gentleness, selflessness, peace and patience with one another.
But the instant the holidays slowly recede into yesterday’s memories, I experience a period of sadness as if to feel slightly let down. But I quickly push those thoughts aside and return to “reality” as I believe it to be. I resume my three-page to-do list lifestyle for the next 11 months and my frame of mind changes. For the next 11 months, I get swept away with the practical and reasonable, consumed by the demands of life. Yet, at the same time, I experience a longing.
I struggle with the commonsense way of living while being tugged by the Kris Kringle in my soul. It’s easy to remember the joy, love and kindness when everyone sees the value of the intangibles during the holiday season. However, it can be more difficult walking alone during a season of realistic normalcy when the Christmas frame of mind is not as easily accepted, and perhaps worst - forgotten.
But this year, when 2020 opens its door, I hope to remember this feeling that is so easy to dance with now and will do my best to remember what is worthwhile. I do not want to lose sight of what is important.
Despite whatever “realities” will be before me next year, I will work to forever believe in the power of the intangibles – all year long. May you, too, remember to carry the spirit of Christmas with you. That way, perhaps we all can encounter the holiday feeling every day instead of just through the month of December.