Among the most popular holiday movies, and a family tradition for many during the Christmas season, It’s a Wonderful Life, is about a divine intervention by a guardian angel to help a man in distress. It opens with a fanciful depiction of angels in heaven discussing a problem that has come up. They are receiving prayers asking to help George Bailey (James Stewart) who is about to hurt himself, and they need to send an angel down to earth to stop him. They select Clarence (Henry Travers), a somewhat down-on-his-luck angel who hasn’t earned his wings yet, but the senior angels promise he will get them if he succeeds.
On Christmas Eve in Bedford Falls, Clarence is assigned to convince the desperate George Bailey to not commit suicide. George is a good man, who sacrificed his dreams and his youth on behalf of the citizens of his small town to carry on his father’s loan business. He married his beloved Mary Hatch Bailey and had four children with her and a struggling beginning with his family barely making it.
George’s nemesis is the greedy banker, Mr. Potter, who is looking for a chance to buy George out so he can monopolize the town’s money and drive up interest rates. George is fighting to carry on his father’s tradition of keeping loans affordable, and helping people get started, so that the good, hard-working people of Bedford Falls can afford to own their own homes. When $8,000 George owes the bank is lost and found by Potter, the evil banker secretly keeps the money and uses it as an opportunity to drive George out of business, because he can’t make up the loss. Totally distraught, George decides to commit suicide, wishing he had never lived in the first place, and telling himself his life insurance policy would make up the loss. That’s when Clarence steps in and is able to use his angelic powers to grant George his wish by borrowing a page out of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and magically going back in time to show George what the town of Bedford Falls would look like if he had never existed. In the end, like a reformed Ebenezer Scrooge, George gets his life back, abandons his suicide attempt and happily races home, there to find that the whole town has come together and raised the $8,000 to save George and his business. Upon seeing this, George concludes that he indeed has “a wonderful life” after all, and, of course, Clarence gets his wings.
Marti wants to know …
George Bailey represents many of our Catch Citizens, and we also know almost as many people here at the Catch who could go by the name of Clarence. Tell us your stories as either George Bailey or Clarence and we will post them without using your names.
I am very serious about this request.
There are many people who see the Catch as a beacon of hope, the only one they can see in their sometimes dire struggles to live out their convictions and their relationships with Christ. These are real people, men and women who have real names and needs, and many are in real pain for multiple of reasons somewhere here in this real world.
These people look a lot like you.
And that is why I implore you to tell each other your stories. We all could handle a little encouragement as we experience a head-on collision between the anticipation of the Advent and our lonely lives starving for hope.
We need your stories — your real stories — your George Bailey stories about someone who fumbled their way into your life and changed it. And we need your real stories about when you were convinced God must have run short on angels, because he assigned you to someone you were completely unqualified to tend to — but did.
I am repeating the word “real” intentionally. I want you to tell your story as it happened and not after it was Christianized.
Please don’t make me nag – I really want your stories so we can encourage each other. Will it take time you do not have? Yes. Do I have a prize if you do? No. Will it offer an opportunity to connect with one another now and especially during this season? Yes. Will it benefit someone else? I don’t know, and am no longer sure it matters, as long as it recalls a time when you encountered the power of the Lord during a stressful season or when He worked through you because there were no available angels to take the call. Who knows? Maybe you are a little bit more hopeful than you thought, or maybe you missed, among all of the Christmas mail, your certificate awarding you your wings.
Who knows? It doesn’t matter. What matters are your true and simple stories that encourage the George Baileys of the Catch to stop causing harm to themselves, and to those around them. What also matters is the astonishing reality that the Lord works through all of us, fumbling fools that we are.
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