A Christmas on Fifth Avenue

25 Dec

This is the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. I have written about how many people are willing to accept the birth of a baby, but many people are unwilling to accept that the very reason that He came to earth was to die. That is certainly, in my mind at least, the reality of the American culture today. The reality of the manger is that the cross is its intended completion.

While those theological thoughts are always present in my celebration, the practical celebration of the day took me to a set of movies that I happened upon a few years ago. The one that grasped my interest this year was It Happened on Fifth Avenue. This movie presented me with a wonderful thought about the reason why Christmas is such a fine celebration.


The story is about a wealthy man’s house that lies vacant for months each year. A group of otherwise unrelated squatters move into the house and take ownership of it. These vagrants are able to live in all the splendor of this house, with all the benefits of the house, and with most of the rights of the ownership thereof. At one point, the owner of the house moves in with them and lives among them, though he is relegated to the servant’s quarters.

The greatest part about this is that the owner lives among them, a fact unknown to most of them, and allows them to continue their arrangement for various reasons. That’s really where the similarities end, but I could not help but think that God takes those of us who are spiritual interlopers and allows us to participate in all the benefits, rights, and splendor of the life which Christ lived. Just as the people in this movie get the benefits of a multi-million dollar mansion, so do we get the benefits of a perfect life lived for us.

It is wonderful to remember that the baby Who was born two thousand years ago, and Whose birth we celebrate today, began what become the imputed life we have. And that is a magnificent thing. For us it doesn’t necessarily happen on a mansion on Fifth Avenue, but it is still a tremendous gift we have been bestowed.

There are many wise lines from this movie, including when the head of the house of misfits says, “Any house is only what the residents make it.” If you find yourself feeling a little ashamed of your financial position in this world, it is great to know that even a servant’s quarters can be the place that turns your life around. If you are a little down about your spiritual position in this world, it is great to know that even a miserable life of merely “filthy rags” is enough through the imputation of the One who came to earth for the express purpose of giving us new life!


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