Did you know that the famed Christmas classic movie MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET, which premiered in 1947, was originally released in June, not December? That's right. The studio knew that it had a potential hit on their hands, so they didn't want to forgo the extra dollars that a summertime blockbuster could rake in (apparently, holiday blockbusters weren't yet a sure deal back in 1940s).
Producers knew that selling a "Christmas" movie in the summertime could be a bit tricky, so they billed it as a romantic comedy--a love story!--and totally downplayed the film's holiday theme. The marketing department even tailored the movie posters to show the film's "love interest" stars, Maureen O'Hara and John Payne, coyly eying one another, with the film's other stars--Edmund Gwenn, who played Kris Kringle, and then child-star Natalie Wood--tucked neatly and discretely in the background.
In essence, it was a Christmas story pretending to be a love story.
The ploy worked, and the film was a huge success. It has now been viewed and cherished over and over again--not in the summer, but every Christmas, by every generation since.
Did you know that the Christmas story--you know, the real one with shepherds and wisemen and the baby Jesus--isn't just a Christmas story?
At its heart, it is a love story! A love story that just happens to be celebrated at Christmas. It first premiered over two thousand years ago and has been cherished over and over again--not just at Christmas, but every day, by every heart longing to be loved, in every generation since.
This holiday season, don't just rehearse a Christmas story. Rehearse the great love story that is the gift of Jesus.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).