Why It Really is a Wonderful Life

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Merry Christmas everyone. It’s been a while. Finals and teaching have a way of making things hectic. How has everyone been?

It’s Christmas, and I hope everyone who’s reading this is with family and loved ones, celebrating the birth of our Lord and the gift of life that He came to die for. Life is something that has been on my mind quite a bit as of late. It’s crazy isn’t it? We rush about our business, stress out over trivial things, and work ourselves overtime for things we often don’t need. We think we need to do all these things to live, but we are already living. We just have a skewed perspective of it.

I’m writing this while It’s a Wonderful Life is playing in the background, a movie all about perspective. Everyone is familiar with the story, it’s about a man who in a moment of despair wishes he’d never been born because he can’t see the amount of worth his life really has. As I watch it, I think about my grandfather, a man who lived by all accounts, a fairly normal life.

My grandfather passed away last month after a tough fight with brain cancer. He worked for an electric company for decades before retiring. He was a deacon. He liked to watch Bonanza and Walker Texas Ranger. He loved his 57 Chevy Bel-Aire like his children and grandchildren. He was always quick with a joke or a funny story. But, by all accounts, he lived an ordinary life. Yet over 300 people came to his funeral to celebrate his life and his memory. It makes me think of George Bailey.

The fundamental struggle of George Bailey’s life was that he always felt he was meant for more than the cards he was dealt. He wanted to travel the world, build things, and leave his mark for generations to come. Every time he tried to get away, “life” pulled him back in. His life, at least in his mind, was nothing but a string of disappointments and missed opportunities. It wasn’t until he had the right perspective that he realized he indeed had made a difference.

I know there were things my grandfather wished he could have done before he got sick. Things he wished he could have seen. Marriages, great-grandchildren, another Vols national championship, the list goes on. When he passed, he may have felt some regret for what he hadn’t done, but I know immediately after passing he saw how much of an amazing he’d had and how much of a difference he made in his family, community, and world. He gained the eternal perspective.

This year has been one where I’ve had moments like George Bailey’s dark night of the soul. There have been moments where I feel like I’m not making any difference in the lives of the kids I teach, I’ll be single and alone forever, or that my life in general is boring and unimportant (usually after scrolling through Instagram). But, both It’s a Wonderful Life and my grandfather’s life have reminded me that even if you can’t immediately see it, every life has meaning. We may not see the fruits immediately or even for years to come, but there will always be fruit.

When Christ came to Earth as a helpless baby in a feeding trough, he came to die so that we may have life eternally and abundantly. He came that we may have purpose here on earth and in heaven. Through the trials, stresses, joys, hopes, and dreams we experience in this life on this earth, we have the opportunity to reflect the God who died for us so that he may be glorified.

This Christmas, I hope everyone lives in the light of the joy and hope Christ has given the world. He came to give us life, and it’s a wonderful life indeed.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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