Jackie Gingrich Cushman

"Miracle on 34th Street," "White Christmas," and "It's a Wonderful Life" are among my favorite Christmas movies. All three stories revolve around people, connections and miracles.

In "Miracle on 34th Street," Natalie Wood plays Susan, a second-grader raised by her mother, Doris, to be practical and not to believe in miracles.

But Susan's skepticism fades after she sees a department store Santa (Kris) talk to another girl in her native Dutch. Santa is accused of being crazy and taken to court for presenting himself as Santa Claus, but after the post office delivers Santa mail to him, the case is dismissed.

Susan, who wants a home for Christmas, is disappointed when she does not receive it on Christmas morning. But, driving home on Christmas Day, Kris persuades Doris and his attorney, Fred, to take a different route. On the way, Susan spies the house of her dreams with a "for sale" sign out front. Stopping, Fred and Doris become engaged and decide to buy the house. Kris' cane is spied in a corner of it.

In "White Christmas," the miracle comes in the form of Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, two successful entertainers who change their plans for Christmas to help out their former commanding officer, retired General Thomas F. Waverly, who has fallen on hard times. Betty and Judy Haynes, sisters who sing and dance, are caught up in the show. Betty, who has fallen for Wallace, mistakenly believes that Wallace is out for himself rather than for the general. Disheartened, Betty leaves the show and goes out on her own.

Wallace and Davis continue to produce the show, and put out a plea for others in their old regiment to help. The finale takes place on Christmas Eve. The show goes on, the regiment men show up for General Waverly and Betty returns to Bob.

"It's a Wonderful Life" begins on Christmas Eve, 1946. Facing hard times, George Bailey stands on a bridge overlooking an icy river and contemplates suicide. When he sees a person in the water struggling to swim, George's focus on his own life is replaced by his concern and action to save another's. He jumps into the river, saving the life of what turns out to be an angel, second class, Clarence Odbody.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.