• Thomas Bonifield

The Heart of the Story

Updated: Mar 24

Miracle on Christmas tackles an age-old dilemma Christians have faced since Jesus' resurrection: do we allow suffering to draw us closer to God or push us farther away?

Micah Lynn Hanson, Kim Cruchon Brooks and Erin Bethea on the set of "Miracle on Christmas." Image: Horse is Ready Productions/"Miracle on Christmas."

As we recently reported, our first feature film, Miracle on Christmas, wrapped production earlier this month in Michigan. Written and directed by yours truly, the look and feel will be Hallmarkesque, but the thrust of the story is distinctly faith-based. A family Yuletide gathering serves as the backdrop for the drama and our characters, who are a lively bunch, at times go together like oil and water: just like in actual families. We've also thrown in a few dinner guests from outside the clan to spice things up.


To be sure, we've built in plenty of humor and aimed to make this an uplifting storyline that will inspire you, because nobody wants to watch a downer of a Christmas movie. But these are personages who wrestle with weighty real-life issues and confront moments of personal weakness, all the while, however, viewing them through the prism of their Christian faith.


The heroine of the piece, Mary Boyce, is a Believer struggling with her faith after enduring painful emotional setbacks. Erin Bethea, best known for her role in Fireproof from the Kendrick Brothers, plays that lead part and, wow, does she ever deliver. We'll profile her in greater detail in a future article, but suffice it to say here that her performance is sure to moisten more than a few eyes when our movie comes out later this year.


Jason Burkey in a scene from "Miracle on Christmas." Image: Horse is Ready Productions/"Miracle on Christmas."

Her character's husband, James, on the other hand, goes the opposite direction. Played by Jason Burkey, who - like Bethea - is a veteran of the faith-based film scene, he draws closer to God in the midst of the difficulties. The dissonance between their responses is the primary driver of the conflict that undergirds and propels the drama.


We've long believed that the best storytelling mixes fact and near-fact, judiciously leavened with a dash of the improbable, and we drew heavily on our own life experience for much of this tale. And while we certainly aim to entertain with this picture, we also very deliberately endeavor to provoke self-reflection among our audience. Though it can prove difficult to strike the right balance on that score, we are hopeful we've managed it, and look forward to the release of Miracle on Christmas for this year's Yuletide season to find out whether moviegoers agree.

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