It’s a Wonderful Life
It’s the most magical time of the year! My husband often calls me “The Christmas Queen” because this just so happens to be my favorite time of year. So I think my December posts will easily fall under the umbrella of holiday charm. I have always loved the story of It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. It is a classic film based off of the short story, The Greatest Gift by Phillip Van Doren Stern. It has many meaningful messages that I hold dear. Amazingly very little of the movie actually takes place during Christmas, but it is an endearing holiday story with relevant lessons that we can continue to apply today.
Presently, we find ourselves in an economic recession leaving many depressed and desperate, similar to how George Bailey finds himself.
George, like his father, was a kind and generous man who always helped others when they were in need. This is in stark contrast to cranky old Mr. Potter who only wanted to benefit from others misfortunes. Biblically speaking our money and rewards are not ours. Society has been called upon to be generous and cheerful givers, and like George, we are encouraged to help our neighbors. We have often been taught that a man’s wealth is not measured by material things, but by his actions.
George is at his lowest point and is considering suicide as his only way out when he meets Clarence, his guardian angel. Clarence reminds George “that no man is a failure who has friends.” George Bailey is a man who makes sacrifices his whole life. He had to give up his dreams in order to serve others and do what it is honorable. Sacrifice and service are two prominent themes throughout all religions. Clarence, in order to show George his sacrifices and service had a significant impact on others (and in turn earn his wings), allows George to see how different the residents of Bedford Falls lives turn out just simply by wishing that he had never been born. In the end, George learns that life is not about money, materialistic objects, or achievements. Life is about friends, family and relationships. He discovers that through his kindness and honorable character he had touched and saved so many other lives that he does indeed have “a wonderful life.” It is a simple story, with a beautiful message based off of fictional interpretation and classic lessons from the bible.
Where do you see similar themes of sacrifice and service in today’s fiction? Is Katniss Everdeen’s act of volunteering as tribute to save her sister Prim reflective of George Bailey’s actions? Maybe more importantly where have these principles been abandoned? Is Bella Swan more concerned with her own personal happiness than with any other values? Where do you or don’t you see service and sacrifice in today’s popular fiction?