December 25, 2018 4pm, 6pm, and 10am
Saint Mary Parish, Pylesville
It’s A Wonderful Life
Have you ever seen the movie It’s A Wonderful Life?
I’ll raise my hand, so just raise your hand if you have seen it. I just want to get an idea of how many of us have seen it.
I have watched this movie twice in recent years – right before Christmas with my brother and sister-in-law. It’s A Wonderful Life was originally made in 1946.
Since the 1970’s, it has often been shown at Christmas time, even though it is not explicitly a Christmas story. In the movie, Jimmy Stewart plays a young man named George Bailey.
George grows up in the small town of Bedford Falls, New York. He has two big dreams for his life: traveling and becoming an architect.
Unfortunately, George’s father dies very suddenly and George becomes the President of his father’s Savings and Loan. He delays his own goals to save the Savings and Loan and help the townspeople of Bedford Falls.
George is good, honest and always helping the little person. One time after another he lets go of his own dreams for the sake of doing what is right and helpful for others.
Then, when a mistake threatens the very existence of the Savings and Loan, George becomes despondent. He begins thinking that his whole life has been for nothing and he considers suicide.
At this point an angel appears and helps George to experience how fortunate he has been and how many lives he has touched. With this insight, he realizes how worthwhile and meaningful his life is.
George realizes that, all things considered, It’s A Wonderful Life.
The Christmas Story
Well, I see this movie expressing some of the valuable messages of Christmas. I want to highlight three of them for us this evening.
Message 1: God Is with Us
First, in the movie, George’s guardian angel appears, stays with him and gets him through a very dark and low period.
In the same way, Christmas proclaims that the name of the infant is “Emmanuel”,and that name means “God is with us.” Christmas says that God is at the very core of our life, whether we are down or up.
We always have this closeness or communion with God. I don’t know if you ever thought about it, but this is why we call the Eucharist “Holy Communion.”
The Eucharist or “Holy Communion” is really meant to energize or enliven the communion we already have with God who is with us always.
Message 2: Each Person Is Significant
Then, in the movie, the angel helps George to realize how significant his life is.
The angel’s point is that even the most ordinary life can have a powerful impact. Christmas proclaims the same thing.
God becomes human as a vulnerable, dependent infant. So, if God can come to us in this way, then the life of each person is valuable, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.
This message gives us a source of self-worth that you and I and everyone – no exceptions – everyone needs this.
Message 3: Peace Comes from Doing Good
Finally, in the movie, George Bailey realizes that inner fulfillment and peace do not come from material things or financial success.
Instead, fulfillment and peace come from doing what is right and good. Faithfulness, sacrifice, caring for others, truthfulness, and honesty – these are the things that bring fulfillment and peace.
This is the peace that the angels announce at Jesus’ birth: “Peace on earth to those on whom his favor rests.” So, fulfillment and peace come not so much from something outside of ourselves.
Instead, they are more the result of doing the right and good thing in life, of living out our inner communion with Jesus.
So, It’s A Wonderful Life is a memorable movie.
It has the core messages of Christmas:
1) God is with us.
2) Each of us, each person is significant.
3) And, inner fulfillment and peace come from doing what is right and good.
I hope those messages help you to have a Merry Christmas!