Saturday, December 26, 2015

It's A Wonderful Life

When I was a kid, my dad would watch "It's a Wonderful Life" every Christmas Eve, without fail. Sometimes he watched it more than once throughout the holiday season.  I used to think it looked incredibly boring, perhaps because it was in black and white.  I had no interest in it, even though he always encouraged us to watch it with him.  I didn't choose to watch it, but I caught bits and pieces of it over the years as it was often on in the background.

At some point, it became my tradition too---my whole family would watch it.  It kind of hurt to watch it because we always knew what was coming with mean Old Man Potter, but we knew that goodness would triumph in the end, we loved George Bailey, and it left us with such a warm feeling.  We never missed a Christmas Eve viewing of this movie, as far as I can remember.

After my Dad passed away, it really hurt to watch this movie, but it also connected me to him so I tried to make myself watch it every year.  Since starting my own family, I've become my dad.  I quietly watch it every year, hoping they'll join me.  Usually they resist, which is fine---I know that's what I did to my dad too.

This year, though, was different.  I turned it on Christmas morning after the present-fest, after breakfast.  Kids were reading, playing with new toys, we were all just hanging out.  They were in and out of the living room, but by the middle of the movie, all 5 of us were gathered, totally absorbed in George Bailey's life and in his realization that "no man is a failure who has friends".

George Bailey is a quiet hero and represents all of us as we can get overwhelmed with our problems---small and gigantic.  None of us are immune from struggles, but what George Bailey gains is
perspective.  He realizes that even with all those terrible problems, he has so much to be grateful for.  I love that reminder and I cherish receiving it every Christmas.

If you haven't watched this movie, I cannot recommend it highly enough.  It will remind you that no matter what is going on in your life, it really can be wonderful if we focus on the blessings---the things and people we do have in our lives.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We had such a fantastic time on our recent trip to Utah.  Our kids have grown up in sub-tropical Guangzhou, so the concept of autumn w...