It’s a wonderful life…every life is special

Published 7:30 am Sunday, January 16, 2022

Who can forget Jimmy Stewart’s portrayal of George Bailey in the movie classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life?” Last month marks the 75th anniversary of the film’s release.

Every time I watch it, I get a lump in my throat at the end of the movie when George comes running into his house and joyfully embraces his wife and children. He’s a changed man who has come back from the depths of despair.

Financial problems caused George to consider jumping from a snow-covered bridge into the river to end his life. But God sends an angel named Clarence to rescue him.

“I wish I’d never been born,” George tells his guardian angel. Clarence looks heavenward and their supernatural journey begins. George Bailey finds out how everyone else’s life would have been different if he’d never lived.

His younger brother, Harry, drowns at age nine because George isn’t there to rescue him when he falls through thin ice while skating on a pond. As a result, Harry would have never grown up to be a war hero whose act of bravery saved all the lives of the men on a Navy transport during the war.

Mr. Gower, the druggist, would have given poisonous pills to a family with diphtheria, but George recognized the grieving man’s mistake and prevented the tragedy.

George Bailey is horrified to see that without the impact of his life, everything about his community was sadly different…from the name of the town, to its businesses and, especially his friends and neighbors. He joyfully returns to reality, realizing he truly has a wonderful life.

This movie classic gives us a vivid picture of the value of every human life; not just George’s, but his wife and children and people in his town. As Clarence says, “Every man’s life touches so many other lives, and when he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole.”

“It’s a Wonderful Life” shows how every one of us has a role in life that only we can play. The value of human life comes from knowing that God has a purpose for each of our lives that we are born to fulfill. By the end of the movie, George learns “no man is a failure who has friends.”

The Bible says God knew us before we were born (Jeremiah 1:5). He made us in His image (Genesis 1:27). I believe human life has lost some of its value in the eyes of many over the past 49 years.  Since 1973 when the U.S. Supreme Court made abortion on demand legal during the entire nine months of pregnancy, over 63 million lives have been ended before they were born.

We will never know the impact their lives would have had on the world around them. Could one of them have been the scientist with the intellect to find the cure for cancer or AIDS? A future president? An astronaut? A pro-athlete? Or a George Bailey?

God “gives to all life, breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25). Only He knows when life should begin and end.