Last year, I forced my ten year old son to watch It's a Wonderful Life for the first time.
"It's black and white?" he said.
"That's means it's boring." Oh, the whining.
"We are watching it for twenty minutes, if you don't like it at that point, we can stop."
I would put the first twenty minutes of It's a Wonderful Life up against any other film for flat out captivation and I was right. Two scenes of George Bailey as a child and he was hooked.
We enjoyed the film so much as a family that we sat down a year later to watch it again. Had to rent it through Amazon. Why do I not own a copy?
Like any good film there is something new to glean every time you watch it. Whether it be a nuance of a character or a good quote, or the fact that life events in between viewings alter how your mind and emotions react to stimulus, the movie affects you differently.
This is Part I of my reflection on this classic, and I will start at the very end of the movie.
When George Bailey opens Clarence Odbody's copy of Tom Sawyer, he reads the inscription:
I am not going to expound on the non-Catholic theology of people becoming angels if you were hoping or afraid of that.
Instead I will say, for the first time, I was brought to tears when reading the text on the screen. It immediately brought me back to the wake and funeral of a family friend who lost his battle with cancer this past November. The stories and tears that many friends from childhood, college, and adult life shared showed everyone present what a wonderful life this man had lived and how he had left a wake of touched hearts during his walk on this Earth.
Since it is the season for resolutions, this experience increased my resolve to commit to building my company of friends, rekindling the zeal of my faith during college, and exposing my children to families who share my desire to keep our kids close to Jesus as they become adults.
Peace and love,