I hate sappy Christmas movies.
Okay, maybe “hate” is too strong of a word. I’m not a big fan. How’s that?
Call me Scrooge, but I’m really not a “Bah, humbug” kind of person. I love Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday. You just aren’t going to read a Facebook post from me that says, “Cuddling up in my jammies with a cup of hot chocolate for a Christmas movie marathon day” … especially in November.
However, there is one movie I watch at least twice — maybe even three times — during the Christmas season. It’s not a contrived story with a predictable ending but a story about the human condition and redemption. I’m drawn in by the nostalgia of yesteryear, but I am most drawn to the movie It’s a Wonderful Life because I identify with the character of George Bailey.
George’s words could well have been mine: “I want to do something big, something important” … “I just feel like if I don’t get away, I’d bust” … “I know what I’m gonna do tomorrow, and the next day, and the next year, and the year after that” … “I’m shaking the dust of this crummy little town off my feet, and I’m going to see the world” …
George Bailey had a wanderlust issue. He was certain that his life was meant to be lived traveling the globe — “Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Colosseum” — but it wasn’t for wont of planning and effort that he never got out of Bedford Falls. Every dream George Bailey had went up in a puff of smoke because of death, sacrifice, and the economy.I hate it when life happens and sidelines me almost as much as I hate sappy Christmas movies. It takes a while before I see the wisdom in God’s plan for me to stay put and be where He wants me to be. George’s words echo in my head: “I want to do what I want to do!“
Time and again George’s plans were derailed, and the plan would start over. But then he hit a wall he couldn’t scale. I’ve been there, and I bet you have as well.
What would happen if we tried to find a way out like George did? What would happen if we sidestepped God and said, “I’m going my own way”?
I’m afraid we’d miss out … not on fulfilling our own desires but in experiencing God’s best for us. There is a very specific purpose for which He brought you to life and placed you where you are, a particular role He wants you to play in this earthly life, and only you can fill it.
There is also a very specific purpose I have been appointed for in this temporal life. If I am to call myself a Christian, I must exhibit obedience to His will and reflect His character. In His humanity, Jesus didn’t desire to suffer and die; however, he knew his purpose was to do his Father’s will. We would be doomed to hell had he not known the part he served in God’s master plan.
For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38)
Remember the scene in the movie when George stooped down and swept away the snow covering his brother’s gravestone? George had bought the lie in the evil words of Mr. Potter: “You’re worth more dead than you are alive!” But it was the pivotal point in George’s understanding that his seemingly dull and ordinary life in reality had a profound impact on so many people within his sphere of influence as Clarence the angel declared, “Each man’s life touches so many other lives.” From preventing the delivery of poison to a diphtheria patient to paving the way for the hard-working common man to possess his own hearth and haven, George’s life affected so many others. Had he not been alive to rescue his brother Harry from drowning at a young age, Harry wouldn’t have been alive to save the men on his transport in World War II. The ripple would have spread far and wide.
And all of humanity would have been eternally devastated had Jesus not understood the mission he came to achieve on earth.
Life is mysterious. I don’t always understand why things happen the way they do, nor am I to. But one thing I do know: God has allowed and withheld in order to fulfill His will, and I must rest in His omniscience.
I Am a Part. You are, too.
From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:16
Because you are what God says that you are! You are enough!
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Pam Freitag Weyant traded the harsh Midwestern winters for the sunny South. Her best friends are her stenography machine (she works as a freelance court reporter), her aged but adorable cocker spaniel Jake, and words. She is grateful for time spent traveling, writing creative nonfiction, and working out. Her goal each day is to share her story with others so they may also find freedom in a redemptive Savior. Read more of Pam’s Breath on Paper bio here.