Every year during the month before Christmas, I find my stack of holiday DVDs and watch each one again like I am catching up with an old friend. Each movie speaks to me in some way. Some are funny. Some are poignant and tender. Some are reminiscent of a simpler time. Some are filled with songs and dances. Some are classic. Some are obscure. Some I know by heart.
Like many of you, I'll wager, my favorite is probably It's a Wonderful Life. It is a true American classic, and I am not sure our friends across the pond will be familiar with it. The film stars Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his
dreams in order to help others. His thoughts of suicide on Christmas Eve bring about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence. This unlikely angel shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in his town, Bedford Falls, would have been if he had never been born.
There is a quote from this movie that I love, and it gives a clue as to where this famous story originated. As George Bailey stands on the snowy bridge considering suicide, the angels in heaven are discussing this man and how they must send someone down to earth to help him. The Senior Angel explains to the novice angel, Clarence:
"At exactly 10:45 pm earth time, that man will be thinking seriously about throwing away God's greatest gift."
Clarence says with worried concern,
"Oh, dear, dear. His life."
|Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings|
This movie, directed and produced by Frank Capra, was based on a short story, "The Greatest Gift," which Phillip Van Doren Stern wrote in 1939. The film was particularly praised for its writing, and that angel's line of dialogue stays with me all year long.
What do those words, "the greatest gift," really mean to me?
We all touch the lives of the people around us, whether it be family and friends, or the person who bags your groceries. What makes life our greatest gift is the love we share with other human beings. Every day of our lives is a gift, and like Oscar Hammerstein's song says,
"Love isn't love 'til you give it away."
I think Sam has a bottle of my favorite perfume under the tree. But I think my greatest gifts don't come wrapped in pretty paper. They are the people that make my life meaningful.
- The women that I care for through my work may not give me a present that I can hold in my hand, but their smiles and hugs are something special to me.
- Sitting with my brother and reliving a memory from our childhood is so much better than a sweater.
- Meeting an adult that once sat in my classroom as a 9 year old child is something that makes me proud and sometimes teary.
- The friends that I have made through blogging are such a rich part of my life now, and I treasure each one of them.
- Our boys coming home and making me laugh with their teasing and craziness. When they say, "I love you, Mom," I feel like I will burst with happiness.
And finally, my greatest gift of all. That would be my Sam. He makes me feel so loved and cherished, that I thank god every day that he is in my life.
I am always amazed when I think of the way our marriage has evolved in the years since we discovered "this thing we do." He gives me that gift freely and from his heart. And when he wraps his arms around me, all the other gifts in my life seem to pale.
Merry Christmas to you all.
I wish you the gift of love because that is truly
The Greatest Gift.