“Its a Wonderful Life”
January 17 @ 11:52 am
“You see George, you really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?” ~ Clarence
This quote will sound familiar to many – It’s the counsel George Bailey’s guardian angel, Clarence, gives to George in the Christmas Classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. When the film first came out in 1946, just after WWII ended, it was a box office failure. But why? Was it because Americans had just experienced the horrors of war and this film appeared, at first glance, to be insensitive to this fact? Interestingly, it wasn’t until 1974 — almost 30 years later — that the film really won its way to the hearts of the American people. A mistake in renewing its copyright led to the film becoming public domain, thus enabling folks to view it on major television networks within their own homes. (Turley, KV. “Consigned a Generation to ‘Nonexistence’. National Catholic Register. Dec. 19, 2021.)
Everything is in God’s Providence.
America in 1974 was experiencing darkness; a president had been murdered, pornography and abortion were both legalized, a war was raging overseas, and moral decay was on the horizon. This timeless film provided a much-needed boost of faith and hope to our nation’s soul even as it continues to do today.
George Bailey, an icon of every man and woman, considers ending his life when financial bankruptcy threatens him. God answers the desperate prayers of George himself, his family, and his friends by sending Clarence, his guardian angel, down from Heaven on an emergency mission to help him.
“Dear Father in Heaven, I’m not a praying man, but if you’re up there and you can hear me, show me the way. Show me the way!”
Clarence conceives a brilliant idea: convince George his life is worth living by showing him what the world would be like if he had never been born. The story reminds us how precious and irreplaceable each life is, and the myriad ways that one life interweaves with countless others through God’s loving Providence. The story also underscores that life’s ordinary things are really gifts from God, including and especially one’s family and one’s life itself.
As we mourn the lives of over 64 million since abortion was legalized 51 years ago and reflect on the infinite hole left by their deaths, we’re also mindful of the gift of life that each one of us has been given and pray for a renewed sense of awe and gratitude for all that God has worked and continues to work through us.