It’s a Wonderful Life can surely be counted as one of my all-time, favorite movies–maybe yours, too. The 1946 Christmas classic was produced and directed by Frank Capra and is based on Philip Van Doren Stern’s short story, “The Greatest Gift.”
I had an opportunity to see It’s a Wonderful Life on the big screen for the first time during a recent trip to Chicago–it was one of the highlights of my holiday. (The theatre tradition is to hiss at Mr. Potter upon his every appearance, and jingle bells each time Clarence mentions getting his wings.)
I began thinking about the movie’s protagonist, George Bailey. Poor George. His lofty dreams of leaving sleepy little Bedford Falls were thwarted–time after time. His desperation to get out of town seemed almost palpable.
George will forever remain my hero. He sacrificed his hearing when he rescued his brother from drowning. He prevented his druggist-boss from a poisoning (not to mention saving the life of the customer). He took over his father’s business so friends could have homes to call their own. He gave his hard-earned college money away. He even offered up his honeymoon funds, to keep his patrons from losing every penny they owned.
Now that’s sacrifice.
In turn, George discovers, with heartwarming clarity, that no man is a failure if he has friends.
When we look at our own lives, do we see only imperfections, disappointments, regrets, and setbacks?
Or do we see life full of gratitude, lessons learned, obstacles overcome?
We’ve all been there with George, thinking we’re not worth our own life insurance policy.
Do we need a bumbling angel to come down and show us how many lives we’ve touched–or perhaps, not touched?
I personally need to have a little more gratitude and a little less grumbling.
Remember: “Life doesn’t have to be perfect, to be perfectly wonderful.”
Yes, George Bailey, you are certainly my hero.
Wishing you all a joyous holiday season.
*I never noticed this framed quote under Peter Bailey’s portrait at the Building & Loan, until I saw the big-screen version of the movie.