It’s that time of year again. It’s a Wonderful Life, one of my seasonal favorites, is on my mind. It isn’t particularly complex or subtle, but it reflects the simple truths of life in a captivating way that speaks to adults and children alike. If you haven’t seen it yet, take time this Christmas season; you won’t regret it. If you have seen it, and like it as much as I do, you’ll probably be seeing it again anyway.
After all, watching It’s a Wonderful Life is really just an excuse to count your blessings and remember those in need. Every time I think of George Bailey, I feel a surge of gratitude as I realize how beautiful and meaningful my own life really is. I’ll probably never get the chance to see the difference my life makes the way George Bailey did, but all I have to do is look into the eyes of my husband and two wonderful sons, and I know that I’m very blessed, and my life is worth living, regardless, of the tears and sweat it also involves.
I also think of all the George Baileys in my life. I think of all the people who have helped me throughout the course of my life, and I remember all the people who are struggling and feel that their life is worthless. I pray for all the people who are thinking about harming themselves or others in their desperation. As I sit in my warm living room, gazing at our Christmas tree, listening to music and smiling at the thought of Charbel and Paul curled up under their blankets, it’s hard to think about coldness and loneliness.
But the first Christmas wasn’t all warmth by the fire and presents under the tree; it was a sacred mix between the coldest and warmest realities we face in this life: rejection and loneliness, warmth and salvation. I think that’s why I love It’s a Wonderful Life so much; it perfectly captures this dichotomy with its mix of stinginess and despair, generosity and heartwarming laughter.
Remember the George Baileys during the next few weeks. If you know anyone that is struggling this Christmas, whether it’s because they’re far from loved ones, or can’t afford to celebrate, or are wrestling with much deeper and darker concerns, take a moment, however brief, to remind them that life is worth living. If you can, do something to bring them the warmer side of Christmas and remind them that they can find salvation even in cold, dreary or dark life experiences. You might be the only Clarence God is sending them… and wouldn’t it be fun to get your wings by Christmas?