Author: Richard Carter
As I walked through the hospital waiting room I glanced up at the TV. The Miracle on 34th St. was just beginning. I signed in and luckily for us they were busy in the treatment area. It took a while for them to call us back and we got a bit of time in viewing the movie, one I hadn’t seen in years.
Well, about the time it was getting into it they were ready for us, and so we went back. I got my dose of the (Elixir Vital) and bandaged up we headed for home. As we walked past the TV again it was still on, and entering the hallway that barred us from listening further, I realized something.
I extremely enjoyed that small bit of exposure I had to it, the portion that shows the real Santa parading as the Macy’s imitation, how he directed the mother of a child he saw to the store that did carry that fire engine the little boy wanted so badly.
It also showed how his acts of kindness worked just in reverse of the fears of the manager. It actually created loyal customers instead of ending these customer’s relations with the store. It, like Mr. Smith goes to Washington, Sargent York, and It’s a Wonderful Life, showed acts of goodness in a positive light. It was before the nice guys finish last mental had really begun to set in.
These were, for the time, high dollar films with extraordinary casts, and they were made by a Hollywood that gave the public what it wanted just as it does today. People weren’t sheltered. They watched movies about war, crime, intimacy, and love, both good and bad. We look at them and see an unrealistic approach, a homogenized presentation, but in reality it was just the presentation of their reality, one SO unlike ours.
They had all the categories of illness then that our society suffers from now. They have only changed in complexity, not their root. But, even in those type of films there was a moral. Ask a child today what that word means and ask how important it is. They presented the best in man overcoming the worst part of us, and so the gangster regretted his mistake, the abusive character found his way home, and George, with the help of Clarence, realized just how much he really still had.
I had a feeling, leaving the hospital, that I really wanted to hold onto, and for the first time this year I felt the Christmas Spirit. Isn’t it amazing how that little bit of the past could overwhelm all the worries of the present, how it could make me unaware of the shadows hanging over our lives.
Would the principles shown in those films work today? Or would they be just a lonely voice swept away in the forces that now move our world, that impede the right and proper action of government, that places wedges deep in the family.
Could these good and healthy ideas take root like seeds with adequate nurturing? Could honesty ever find its place in business again, in the government, and within the walls of our homes? I don’t believe that the only future available to us is one of mistrust, of greed, and of intolerance ,or of scandal. I don’t believe our role as victims is, yet, forever carved in stone.
Ask yourself on this Christmas Eve as the world spins on in growing chaos around us, how do you want to spend, not only the next Christmas, but every day of the year? I know many of you feel the same thing. You sit down and become involved in more than just a film on these occasions. A part of you wants to go home, not to a simpler time, but one in which love, genuine love and caring weren’t considered a weakness, a way of life in which you could experience this warmth not just as an entertainment drug out for an evening once a year, but as hand books of a sort that might reacquaint us with a better part of ourselves.
I know there are fewer of us each year that do remember , that understand the significance of the good feeling I speak of that comes from these treasures and from the world of the past they represent. As the movie plays and we feel that lump in our throats, that swell in our chests as we watch, we are hearing a voice inside us, one crying out for sustenance , trying to awaken us to what we really need.
Look around you. You live in a country with far more worries than our enemies. We are a country at war with ourselves. The country of our past was not without hidden truths, not without very human failings, but in that time existed a country that was one that was so unified nothing could stand against us.
Our families are disjointed with a group of people in the same room yet each off in different worlds. Husbands and wives are too busy texting someone else to enjoy the company of their mate. Children who answer with positives as they plan the negative. We need to listen to the emotions these film raise, to try harder through our better decisions to prolong their presence in our lives. It might all be for naught, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if it worked, if we suddenly found not just an idealic fantasy in them, but a similarity within our own lives. Maybe what we now find heroic might change; we possibly might redefine many of our ideals, and be too involved in the process of pleasant rewarding growth to ask why we had to look to the past for answers.