HomeoldMessage in a Movie: Open before Christmas

Message in a Movie: Open before Christmas

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When I was attending graduate school in Chicago, I marveled at the electric blue beauty of Lake Michigan. My dorm sat on Lake Shore Drive, right across from this marvelous body of water. I thought about lounging by the lake for a series of days, writing about my impressions of the waterway daily, thinking that I could capture a different element each day. I wanted to be like a painter who revisits a scene again and again, drawing new inspiration each time.

In that spirit, I am returning this Christmas season to the topic of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The movie, which became a hit only in retrospect, after years of being re-run on television, poses the existential question: What if the main character had never been born?

We see a sweet town turn into sin city…the cantankerous Mr. Potter without a protagonist to stem the tide of his greed… a maiden named Mary who never has an opportunity for marriage and motherhood. And we learn of the tombstone of a 9-year-old boy whose brother was not around to save him. Remember this discussion between the angel Clarence and good old George Bailey?

Clarence: Your brother, Harry Bailey, broke through the ice and was drowned at the age of nine.

George Bailey: That’s a lie! Harry Bailey went to war! He got the Congressional Medal of Honor! He saved the lives of every man on that transport!

Clarence: Every man on that transport died. Harry wasn’t there to save them, because you weren’t there to save Harry.

I think of desperate women walking into abortion facilities, and I wish they could hear an angel, talking about their babies, telling them that their lives can be wonderful, too. And I reflect on people on the verge of assisted suicide, and I think, if only they could remember this line from the film:

Clarence: You see, George, you’ve really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?

It is a wonderful life…despite dreams that can crumble like Zuzu’s petals…despite sickness and sacrifice…pain and poverty. For where there is life, there is hope — and joy that can come from knowing you’re on the right path, the path of helping people, as George Bailey did.

So, this Christmas, I am looking at “It’s a Wonderful Life,” not only with nostalgia, but with fresh eyes. Because this year, and every year, we need to remember Clarence’s message. It is always a mistake to throw a life away.

Journalist

Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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