Merry Christmas to all my family and friends, new and old.
Funny how topics come to me. For the last couple of weeks I have been thinking of writing a story about a person who wakes up one morning and the whole world has changed to something they don’t recognize. Sound familiar?
So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that when I turned on the television this morning, Christmas morning, it was set to a channel showing the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Coincidence? Divine plan? Who knows.
I don’t know about you but for me Christmas seems different this year. Maybe it’s because I am older and the kids are adults making their own lives. Maybe it’s because we just had our daughter’s wedding last weekend and that took up so much emotional energy ( in a good way.) Or maybe it’s because this year has sucked. Doesn’t matter, but I sure didn’t feel very “Christmas-sey.”
If you don’t know the story of the movie, look it up. In short, a man wants to erase his entire life because things are so bad, but an angel shows him that the world would be horrible without him. It’s a play on the theme of the “butterfly” effect. That means that every person, every action, impacts another. Remove one person, one act, and history is changed.
The movie got me thinking. How many of us have spent the last year wondering if we are making any difference in the world? How are we changing this awful trajectory that the Marxists have us on? Are we stopping our country’s slide into Communism and Totalitinarianism?
Sometimes it seems like the evil character from the movie, Mr. Potter, is winning. In our world, he could be played by a number of people, Soros, Gates, Fauci, Biden, take your pick. Like the movie, we feel like we are getting to the point where he is winning. I can even hear his evil laugh any time these people talk.
So, like George Bailey, some of us are standing on a bridge looking down at the water and wishing that maybe we never existed. We need a little Clarence Odbody right now to show us how wrong we are. I hope he isn’t resting on his newly acquired angel wings.
If Clarence was to show us our impact, what would he show us? For each of us it might be different. He would show us the friends we have helped, the family we have raised, even the strangers we have encouraged by the smallest of acts. It would be a long opening act of moments.
As a group, let’s think about what the world would be like if it wasn’t for all the patriotic Americans of all races and persuasions who have made an impact.
Imagine, no Americans to write the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, documents that created a new kind of country where the people were in charge. No Founders to insist on religious freedom, freedom of speech. No Americans to right the wrongs of slavery. No American soldiers to help stop the tyranny of Hitler and Tojo. To force the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. To go to the moon, make great technological and scientific advancements, and on and on.
We haven’t been perfect. Just like George Bailey, we are only human. We have made mistakes.
The Marxists are trying to use our mistakes against us, just like Mr. Potter tries to take over the Bailey Savings and Loan, snarling and laughing. They divide us with race, with crazy illogical ideas that cause chaos in our minds, with wrong as right and right as wrong. As George’s father says about Mr. Potter, ” He hates everyone who has anything he can’t have.”
On a smaller scale, many of us are doing the little things that impact the world. We are speaking out. Organizing other like minded people. Putting pressure on our politicians, local, state and national. Like Mr. Potter, they aren’t happy about that. We are making them so mad that they want to remove us, nullify us, intimidate us. Like George, we can get discouraged.
That’s where Clarence comes in. Clarence shows George all the reasons his life has been important. He shows George the world without George. It’s a disaster, like our country would be without us. In the movie, evil takes over Bedford Falls, turning it into a cesspool of sleazy nightclubs and strip joints. People who had lived prosperous happy lives after George helped them, were horribly miserable failures in the world without him. Even his wife, Mary.
Clarence tells him, “You’ve been given a great gift, George: A chance to see what the world would be like without you.”
Obviously, Clarence is an oversimplified characature of an angel, talking to two lights in the sky, presumably Joseph and God. Some might think it is a cartoon depiction of the Almighty and how He works. But the message of the story works, and it makes us think. Quite frankly, we could all use a little Clarence, even if he is, like George says, “about the kind of angel I’d get. Sort of a fallen angel, aren’t you? What happened to your wings?”
The events of the story bring us to a point where George, after being shown the world without him, calls out to Clarence, ” Help me Clarence. Get me back.” Of course, Clarence takes him back to his real life. Things are bad. George might go to jail! But, he is so happy to be back to reality that he shouts to the bank examiners who have come to arrest him, “Isn’t it wonderful? I’m going to jail. “
And of course, the ending scene is classic when Zuzu hears the bell ring on the Christmas tree after all of George’s friends come to help him out of his banking crisis and she says, ” Look Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.” ( No CRT in that classroom I guess.)
It’s smarmy and overly sentimental, especially after you have watched it over a hundred times. But, if you watch carefully, the message is still amazing in all the events, the dialogue, and the actors chosen for the parts. Can anyone deny the magic Jimmy Stewart brings to the role of George Bailey? Or Henry Travers as Clarence? And then there’s Donna Reed. ( Side note, Stewart once called the movie his favorite movie out of his 60 year career.)
So, I will watch this movie today. I dedicate my watching and this blog post to all my friends and family. You have impacted my life and this world in so many positive ways you don’t even know. And, you will continue to do so!
As Clarence writes in the book he gives George, “Remember, George, no man is a failure who has friends.”
Merry Christmas to all of you!!!! May God bless you always and often!
It IS a wonderful life.