It’s tradition that my family and I watch It’s A Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve. Ever since I can remember (and even before I was ever thought of), my Dad’s family would sit and watch this movie on Christmas Eve every year. When I was little, an old black and white movie never caught my interest. My cousin and I would normally just run upstairs, slip into our Christmas PJ’s, and play while my family watched It’s A Wonderful Life. In my teenage years I have grown to understand that this movie is not just a boring black and white movie. That there is a significance in watching this movie every year. And it’s not just because it’s a Christmas movie, because it’s really not if you think about it. Every year we notice something different and this year trumped all previous years. All the pieces fell together as we noticed George Bailey’s turning point and encouragement during the Great Depression. Let me set his character for those of you who haven’t seen this classic. George Bailey is a selfless man, friend to everyone he meets, saved his brother’s life when they were young, dreams of traveling the world and not being tied down to his hometown, Bedford Falls. I’m not going to ruin the entire movie for you, but there is a part I would like to discuss. As he thought he would lose his family’s building and loan, he paced across the floor during the Great Depression, as a crowd of people rushed to get their money back. George Bailey had just gotten married and was on his way to travel the world with his new wife, just like he’d dreamed to. He had his life savings in hand and they were literally driving to their honeymoon as they passed people running toward the building and loan.
You can probably guess, George Bailey being the man he was, didn’t go on his honey moon. Instead he stayed to see what was going on and how he could help. His turning point, was when he looked up to see a photo of his father, who passed in the beginning of the movie. Underneath the hanging portrait was a quote that read “All you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.” He turned around, and gave away his life savings of $2,000. And of course, more happens in the film to prove this quote to be relevant. He ends up needing more money than he gave away. That’s just how God works. Luke 6:38 says, Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." That’s just what happened here. Pressed down, shaken together, and running over. You don’t give to receive, or for some kind of reward. You give because you love and care for each other, receiving is just an unexpected bonus.
I encourage you this season to not worry. This movie helped me see that something as little as giving Christmas gifts shouldn’t stress me out financially. My love language is giving gifts, and when I think I don’t have enough to give, I get anxious. I’m not saying be stupid and give all your money away, however, when someone is in need, help them. Not just at Christmas, but everyday. My goal for 2018 is selflessness. In 2017 I focused on finding myself and working to better myself. Now that I’m confident in who I am, and in Who’s I am, 2018 is a year I’m declaring to be intentionally focused on selflessness. It truly is A Wonderful Life, and I can’t believe it took me this long to realize the true meaning of this movie and how impactful it really is.
Merry Christmas Eve!
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