It’s a Wonderful Beginning
Every Christmas Eve, I enjoy watching the last hour of the classic film, It’s a Wonderful Life. With commercials on network television, the movie lasts close to three hours, but it is in the last hour that the angel, Clarence, appears to George Bailey and walks him through a life where he was never born. As a result, George “wakes up” to what a wonderful life he has. Indeed, the movie has a wonderful ending that is usually enough for me on Christmas Eve.
However, this most recent holiday was different. While cooking dinner and winding down after a beautiful and full service, I turned on the television as It’s a Wonderful Life began. I had been watching the ending for so long that I’d forgotten the beginning. Two angels, Senior Angel and Joseph Angel, appearing to the viewer as stars in the night sky, discuss George’s case. Soon the whimsical and childlike angel, Clarence, joins them and receives his instructions that a man on earth named George Bailey needs his help. Clarence asks, “Is he sick?” Senior Angel replies, “No, worse. He’s discouraged.”
Senior Angel reminds us of something important: sometimes discouragement is one of the worst ailments we experience, worse than physical pain. The good news, friends, is that we are all capable of giving to each other the opposite of discouragement: encouragement. The Lord trusts us to give courage to each other—and to ask for it when we are down. George Bailey’s epiphany of how wonderful his life was began when people prayed for him and when he cried out himself. Let us be quick to recognize discouragement in ourselves and each other, and let us be even quicker to offer the word, ear, or shoulder needed to build each other up.
What a wonderful beginning to 2020 this will be, and what a wonderful life we will share, as we share courage with each other!
all good things to each of you,