One of the first Christmas movies I remember watching is the old classic Its a Wonderful Life. I saw it sometime in the 1980s. I had no frame of reference at that point about the major theme of the movie, but it was a great story and I have loved it ever since.
What is the major theme of the movie? It is the little kindnesses we show people that make the biggest difference in life. George Bailey was a very giving man. He didn’t want to be trapped in the small town of Bedford Falls, but took over the family business when his father passed away. He gave his efforts to make sure the people of Bedford Falls had an opportunity for decent housing through the work of his Building and Loan business. He stood in the way of the villainous Mr. Potter from bringing harm and ruin to the good people. He was a good husband and father and a good provider.
Despite all of that, he felt unfulfilled. He didn’t realize the good he had done. He felt that it would have been better had he never been born. It was only after a visit from an angel revealed all he had done that he saw it was truly is a Wonderful Life.
I love that Christmas time gives us a chance to refocus. We are naturally giving at Christmas, when in truth it should be second nature all year round. We have the chance to give small kindnesses and to do good for people every day. George didn’t think he was doing anything heroic, but he consistently showed kindness. It ended up being his legacy and what saved him at the end of the story.
It is my goal to live my life aware of this theme. What may be insignificant to me may be huge to someone else. We all have a chance to make a difference. The small daily choices can do more than we might ever realize.