Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Greatest Gift

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.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I agree - love truly is the greatest gift of all.

  3. Beautiful post Ella. It's a Wonderful Life is a well known and loved film on this side of the Pond. In fact, it's on one of our terrestrial TV channels on Christmas Day.
    Wishing your family a Christmas filled with love,
    Rosie xx

  4. Sounds to me like you know what is important and how this season should be thought of and celebrated. Much love to you Ella!

  5. Ella,

    What a beautiful post. What a Wonderful Life, haven't seen that film in ages. Must hunt it out.

    Wishing you and your family a truly wonderful Chrismtas.

    Love and hugs Ella,

  6. Yes! It's a wonderful life is one of the best💕 And I agree, these loving men of ours are the greatest gifts💝

    Merry Christmas ☺️

  7. Merry Christmas, Ella and Sam,

    I so love your post, Ella! It's absolutely amazing the impact each of us has on one another's lives. This was just such a perfect reminder today that we are all so blessed.


  8. Ella,
    Lovely post
    Merry Christmas to both you and Sam
    Jack and Meredith

  9. hi Ella, what a lovely post, I hope you and your family have a lovely Christmas together.
    Thinking of you at this time
    love Jan, xx

  10. I agree with your lovely is the greatest gift. The grands are all arriving tomorrow until after there will be lots of fun and loving..I am blessed.
    hugs abby

  11. Such a lovely post Ella, love is the greatest gift. Wishing you, Sam and family a very Merry Christmas. I hope you have a wonderful time together and enjoy the holiday season.


  12. What a beautiful post Ella. Wishing you, Sam and family a very Merry Christmas. enjoy all the celebrations over the festive season.

    Hugs Lindy and Bear xx

  13. I LOVE this post. So sweet and from the heart. I agree that love is the greatest gift of all. :-) Hugs to you. Merry Christmas to you and yours. I have plans to snuggle up late tomorrow night watching its a wonderful life while the kids are falling asleep and there are last minute things to do...

  14. Ella:

    Merry Christmas to you, Sam, and your family!!


  15. Merry Christmas Ella. I love your post, it brought back a lot of good reminders of Christmas movies that I would like to watch again.

  16. I'm very late responding here but felt compelled to do so. You have written a lovely post and shared the amazing message from a beautiful movie. I think we all need that reminder sometimes as to what is really important. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and many good wishes to you and Sam for 2017.