An annual pleasure: Watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” at Christmas time.
This year, we didn’t get to watch the film until after Christmas. But it was still a joy. It goes beyond the fact that Jimmy Stewart was my favorite actor from the growing-up-years of my life. And it goes beyond the encouraging message(s) of the film:
- “No man who has friends is poor.”
- The powerful influence that one life can make on others.
- The value of sacrifice for others.
- The power of community in a crisis.
I love the romance. I love the big-brother care for his little brother. I love the way young George Bailey sticks up for the underdog and continues to do so throughout his adult life even at great personal sacrifice to his own plans. I love the love of family that is on display throughout the storyline. I love the Frank Capra touch of humor and darkness mixed in the plot. I love the dance scene over the pool and the banter on the sidewalk after.
But this year I saw something that could easily be adapted by any of us who sees a new neighbor move into town. Pharmacist, “old man Gower” finally gets a home and is able to move out of Potter’s slum. Newly married George and Mary show up at Mr. Gower’s home with housewarming gifts.
But they are more than gifts.
They are symbols of blessings hoped for.
Here’s the list of the gifts:
- Bread — “that your home would never know hunger”
- Salt — “that life may always have flavor”
- Wine — “that joy and prosperity may continue forever”
What a simple idea! What a great way to serve a neighbor. What a great way to begin a relationship. What an easy thing to duplicate.
So here’s my suggestion. Watch those “For Sale” signs in your neighborhood. When the sign changes to “SOLD”, watch for the moving vans. And a day or two after they arrive, you arrive with your gifts and your blessing. If you want to swap out one item for another, go ahead. If you want to add something, go ahead. Next sold home in my neighborhood, is going to get the “It’s a Wonderful Life” blessing from us and I will probably add a Bible — “that your home would always know God”.