Movie Review: Miracle Maker

John FarrellBy John Farrell5 Minutes

Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we had someone who could provide us with the miracles we so desperately need?

We don’t have to look far, because we already have one in Jesus Christ. Not only is Jesus the ultimate Miracle Maker, His birth was also a miracle.

When the residents of the small mining town of Woodhaven fall on hard times, they are desperate for a stroke of good luck, a miracle, anything. All of the residents, minus the indurated and greedy James Booth, are struggling to make ends meet. Work is scarce and money is even scarcer. The town’s morale is at an all-time low and there is very little hope.

One of the main sources of the townspeople’s gloom and doom can be linked to one man—James Booth, who owns most, if not all, of the town’s buildings and houses. As a proprietor, Booth is unsympathetic and unforgiving. Others in town compare him to Ebenezer Scrooge from “A Christmas Carol” and describe him as “stingy,” among other adjectives. Even his own daughter, Lily, calls him “heartless.”

In search of divine intervention, Oliver Cronin, a young boy who hasn’t spoken in years, attaches a note asking for a miracle to a dove. Not long afterward, they receive a telegraph that a Miracle Maker is coming to the town on the edge of the American frontier.

The townspeople of Woodhaven roll out the welcome mat (that being a large banner hanging from the balcony of one of the few stores in town) for the big arrival of the person who will change their lives. In the days leading up to the Miracle Maker’s arrival, one of the children asks Pastor Thomas Keating what he thinks a Miracle Maker is like.

Pastor Keating, who has been banned by Booth from seeing Lily after a carriage accident, replies, “I suppose a Miracle Maker is someone who does something out of the ordinary, something remarkable to better the world.”

The answer to Oliver’s request arrives shortly before Christmas in the form of a vagabond named Matthew. He doesn’t arrive in Woodhaven with any fanfare nor is he opulent or extravagant in his mannerisms and attire. Instead, he arrives on foot from the fields in well-worn clothes with a chicken, dog, shovel, and very little other earthly possessions.

He’s not at all what the townspeople expected; however, he is handsome according to some of the women.

When Matthew first arrives, he’s introduced to Pastor Keating. Matthew asks the pastor, “How is your flock?” To which Pastor Keating responds, “In need of miracles.”

Almost immediately, several of the townspeople question whether this traveler is the answer to their prayers and the one who can provide the miracles they seek. How can this stranger help anyone when it doesn’t look like he can even take care of himself?

Over the course of the next couple of days, Matthew repairs a dilapidated shack that Booth reluctantly lets him use during his stay in Woodhaven. Not only does he spruce up the small home and its yard, he quietly goes about fixing issues others in town have with their own property.

He proves that miracles don’t have to be some grandiose display meant to razzle and dazzle the masses. Many of his miracles happen outside the spotlight and while they’re not big in scale (in Matthew’s own words, “I simply moved a few rocks and planted a few seeds”), they greatly improve the lives of those affected.

However, the most challenging reclamation project for the Miracle Worker is softening the hardened heart of Booth. Matthew advises the property owner, “Being blessed with good fortune comes with an obligation to share what we have.”

Will Booth have a change of heart in time for Christmas? Will he allow his daughter to be with Pastor Keating? If Booth does change, will the townspeople forgive him? Is Matthew truly a Miracle Maker or just a kind-hearted traveler who wants to help others?

This holiday season, when you allow Jesus to enter your heart, He will bestow upon you His many miracles, just as Matthew helped the people of Woodhaven believe again.