Great Morning Beloved!
Today we light the second advent candle, the candle for Peace. The first Advent candle was for Faith.
We sing the Peace song every Sunday, are we taking it to heart. We have said time and again that peace begins with each of us. It begins when we learn to trust in the peace that is the Christ Presence within each of us.
Let us welcome the peace of the Christ this Christmas Season
Reel-to-Reel Christmas “It’s a Wonderful Life”
I hope you are enjoying our little adventure into some of the Seasons favorite movies. If you pay attention to many of the lasting movies, you may find that, they are lasting because of the messages and lesson they provide to us.
Last week we discussed a few lessons from “The Miracle on 34th Street.” And there were many examples of the Advent theme, Faith, in that movie.
This week we look at “It’s a Wonderful Life.” This movie is one of my very favorites of ALL movies. And no matter how many times I’ve seen it, I shed tears at the end if not before.
I hope you took the time to watch the film this past week. There is just too much we could discuss from the film to put in one Lesson. It’s been called an Hour & half long teachable moment.
There’s a bank that requires its employees to watch a series of scenes from the movie and law students watch certain scenes for the ethics lessons. I am sure there are many other examples of the importance of the lessons in the film.
Many of the iconic moments of the movie have become cultural touchstones. Do you think of an angel getting its wings every time you hear a bell ring? Do you yell “Merry Christmas, movie house!” every time you pass your local theatre? Do you have someone for whom you would lasso the moon? You have “It’s a Wonderful Life” to thank.
The story of George Bailey’s life is one that touches so many in his small town of Bedford Falls. We get to see his life from a child to present through the eyes of celestial beings…“oh that’s right I forgot, until you get your wings you can’t see without my help but once you get your wings you’ll be able to see clearly on your own.”
Our first lesson, once we wake up we see clearly on our own and yet until that time we are encouraged to call upon our friends and our teachers to help us see more clearly. Great start and we haven’t even gotten to earth yet.
Through these celestial eyes we see how George saved his brother, Harry’s life from the not-so-frozen pond. And how that affected his life because of the loss of hearing in one ear.
We next see how he saved the life of a child from the error in a prescription by Mr. Gower. And that one action saved Mr. Gower too.
He sacrificed his education for his brother’s, kept the family-run savings and loan afloat, protecting the town from the greedy Mr. Potter
We see how George’s father and then he, himself, strive to stand up to Mr. Potter and keep at least some of the town out of his grip.
And, we see how both George and his father put up with Uncle Billy and his incompetency’s, almost to their detriment.
From the very beginning we’re seeing that George has had an impact on many peoples’ lives. But he doesn’t get to follow his dreams… More than anything else George wants to travel. He wants to get out of Bedford Falls and travel. As he says at one point in the movie he wants to “Shake the dust of this crummy little town off his feet.”
At one point his father mentions that he would like him to take care of the Bailey building and loan and George says “I couldn’t face being cooped up for the rest of my life in a shabby little office, I’d go crazy, I want to do something big, something important”
George’s dad thinks they are doing a big thing. He says; “It’s deep in the race for a man to want his own roof, walls and fire place and we’re helping him get those things in our shabby little office.”
When George comes to his crisis point, he fails to see all the good he has done, so it takes Angel 2nd class Clarence Odbody to show him his worth and, at the same time, earn his wings.
Clarence does this by giving George the opportunity to see what it would have been like if he was never born.
With no one to keep Potter in check, Bedford Falls becomes Pottersville and all that that implies. Even Mary is casts as an ‘old maid’ (horrors!) and working in the library. No family. No kids. No Bailey Park with all it’s nice little homes.
All the sailor and soldiers would have dies without Harry, who owes his life to George.
Clarence tells George, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man touches so many other lives, and when he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?
What would it be like to see what life would have been like with no YOU to fill the place in our tapestry of life? George gets to see just that.
At the end of the film, Clarence has the almost last word: “Dear George, remember no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings. Love, Clarence.”
What can we learn from George? First, you don’t have to leave home to go on an amazing journey. George Bailey’s life was an amazing journey and he did it right in his crummy little town. So often we think we must build something big or go somewhere grand to have an impact, for our journey to mean something. What if the real journey is how much we love and how loved we are? That’s one thing George learned. George built lives, not skyscrapers. Skyscrapers can fall down. What George built, lasts.
I think we can also learn from George that we should never underestimate the impact we can have. We’ve all heard of the butterfly effect, that if a butterfly flaps it’s wings in Tokyo it can cause a tornado in Texas. We never know what a kind word will do, we never know whose day we can turn around, just by being who we are, just by sharing our gifts like George did. We never know the impact that we’re going to have.
And, I think, we all need to be willing to accept a little help now and then. We all have angels. In this realm, in other realms, we all have help that’s available to us if we’re just willing to be open to it.
And what George really learned by the end of the movie is that he was a blessing to the people in his life. He never saw himself that way. He saw himself as just a regular guy plugging away in his life. But he was a blessing to the people in his world just by doing what he did.
The big thing that he built was a town and a life and relationships. As Clarence said to him at one point, “George you’ve really had a wonderful life.”
Here are some more lessons from Matt Lewis’s “7 enduring Lesson from “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Our life has a purpose and we have no idea the significance of our life.
Keeping up with the Jones is for saps Georges ambition to be more than he is causes much unhappiness and frustration. We must learn to appreciate what we have. A good question to ask is, how are we defining our worth these days?
Bad guys don’t always get punished…we unfortunately know that. What we can do about it is be in our integrity ourselves and know that each person carries their own burdens and pays for their own errors.
Don’t always hire relatives obvious
Appreciate how blessed you truly are and see the real importance in life—family, friends, faith.
Know how to give a good toast “A toast to the richest man in town.” That richness is not about money, but about the people in our lives. And earlier at the house blessing…” Bread that this house may never go hunger, salt, that life may always have flavour, and wine, that joy & prosperity may reign forever.”
Marry the right person “someone who will help you find your answers”
If you want even more lesson from this film, look for the book, 52 little lessons from It’s a Wonderful Life” by Bob Welsh
It has wonderful chapters like; “There’s no impact without contact,” “When criticized, consider the source,” & “ Life’s greatest adventure are people not places or things.”
This film Inspires us to live better lives, to recognize what really matters, and to be people of honour & integrity.
What did you find from the movie?