The third installment in my Classic Hollywood Christmas series, celebrating my 40th anniversary, Christmas, and old Hollywood Christmas classics in one fell swoop! I’m looking at how these films embody Wife for Life principles…
I am such a sucker for Miracle on 34th Street. What is it about this film that enthralls and endears no matter how many times I’ve seen it? For me, the miracle of Miracle on 34th Street is not the fact that Santa may be real, but that our leading lady, Doris Walker, played by the gorgeous Maureen O’Hara, is transformed from efficient, independent, and dogmatic, to sweet, inclusive, and romantic. Since changing the human heart is one of the hardest things in the world to achieve…to what, or to whom, may we attribute this magic?
Well, please. To Santa of course!… Or, more specifically, to Santa’s infallible, invincible, incredible, insatiable, unalterable ability to express affection.
It’s not often that the dictionary warms me up like hot chocolate, but in this case…
Affection: a gentle feeling of fondness or liking.
Key word: gentle.
Having just recently seen Miracle on 34th Street (on the big screen of an old-fashioned movie palace no less), I have been asking myself over and over: What is it about gentleness that reaches the human heart so deeply? Obviously, kindness is not kind without it, and sweetness and sarcasm are separated by it. But what makes it one of, if not the, most powerful motivator/influencer in the human arsenal? Doris Walker’s entrenched philosophical disdain of “fantasy” for instance, rendered her unable to exercise faith, to trust her own heart….and yet…the twinkle of Kris Kringle changed everything.
The influential impact of kindness and affection will always be the consummate curiosity to me because of this amazing paradox: True Affection has no agenda!
All affection wants is to say: I enjoy your company, right now, in this minute, just as you are. And yet — even with no other object in mind than to express sincere fondness and attachment — affection persuades! And it persuades so gently, so imperceptibly, so gradually, that the object of affection has no idea they are being revolutionized by it. The worried brow relaxes, the defensive wall crumbles, the suffocating heart breathes again, and rolled-away dreams unfurl.
Would you like to participate in or experience that kind of miracle? Just think what could happen in your marriage and family! It’s not hard. There’s no complicated formula here. Gentleness…tenderness…care…: they can be expressed in so many ways; the list of delights and simplicities is longer than Santa’s. You just need awareness to overcome affection-amnesia, and you too can unleash the mystical power behind the tiny touch, the loving look, the laugh, the sparkle, the smile.
Other posts in the Classic Hollywood Christmas series:
Can Enemies Become Lovers? The Secret is in “The Shop Around the Corner”
Would “Life” Have Been So “Wonderful” for George Without Mary?
Leave a comment on this post to be entered in The Fourth Annual Wife for Life Classic Hollywood Christmas Giveaway! All thoughtful commenters on this blog between now and 11:59m PST December 31st, 2017, will be entered in a RANDOM.ORG drawing for one of FOUR Hollywood Christmas classics on DVD (including It’s a Wonderful Life) as well as an autographed copy of Wife for Life: The Power to Succeed in Marriage. Each comment (one per post please) will count as an entry. Come back and comment on all the Hollywood Christmas Classics blog posts (published Wednesdays in December) to better your chances!