As the Christmas season approaches, I am anticipating the quiet, winter evening that I will relax at home and watch one of my favorite movies: It’s a Wonderful Life. Released in 1946, it has been listed as the most inspirational American movie in the history of film-making. If you have not yet seen it, I encourage you to watch it at some point in the near future. If you are already aware of the film, consider viewing it again, for its timeless message of love, hope, and family significance is a perennial reality.
It’s a Wonderful Life explores the life of George Bailey, a man who didn’t lack ambition, but did lack the means to realize his ambitions. Facing one disappointment after another, he eventually finds himself on the brink of suicide. During this time, an angel pays a very special visit to him. As they engage in their first conversation, George mentioned his desire to have never been born. After a brief (heavenly) consideration, the angel (named Clarence) is given the power to show George what life would have been like for others if he had never been born. In fact, following this discussion, Clarence takes George around his town, and George is shocked at what he experienced. Nobody knows him! In fact, when he encounters his wife and friends, they did not recognize him either. As this episode developed, Mr. Bailey was amazed at what he discovered, and even more surprised as he learned about how much his life truly meant to those around him. Towards the end of the movie, George begs for his problematic life to be ‘restored’ and to have the opportunity to “live again.” His wish is granted, and he emerged from a state of non-existence to having an appreciation of life that he had never known.
Do you regard your life as ‘wonderful?’ Do you approach your daily existence with gratitude and anticipation, or do you find yourself on the verge of disillusionment and lethargy? Like George Bailey, our lives count for something, and it is imperative that we live with that reality on a daily basis. George had no idea that his life, even from his childhood, had such a positive impact on those closest to him. Perhaps you are (or have been) in a place in your life where you feel as though your life amounts to very little. You do not have the confidence that your life is characterized by God-given purpose. Thankfully, you do not have to be deceived into believing that lie, for God’s Word reminds us that we are special to Him, created in His very image (see Genesis 1:26-27). If your present life did not have meaning, you would not have been created. Everything and everyone that has been created has purpose. Consider the following verse:
“The LORD has made everything for its own purpose…” (Proverbs 16:4)
That ‘everything’ includes you, especially if you know Christ as the Lord and Savior of your life. While it is true that in moments of discouragement and depression, we can find ourselves in a valley of seeming despair. George Bailey experienced that, and we are not immune from such afflictions. Yet, the Spirit of God has a way of confirming His grace and concern for those who are beloved children of God. Not only that, but He also reminds us of how valuable life is as we keep our eyes focused on eternity. As long as we are serving the Lord, we will never know just how many lives we touch.
During this holiday season, remember that God has blessed you in order to be a blessing to others. To put it another way, experiencing a ‘wonderful life’ is only realized when we have given our lives to make someone else’s ‘wonderful.’
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year