When you read those words you are likely either nodding in agreement or shaking your head. It’s a wonderful life. Yes, it is. Or, no, it isn’t.
If you haven’t seen the Hollywood classic, you might presume it’s the image of the picture perfect family. Dad grinning wide at his children in front of the Christmas tree. Mom gazing with love and admiration into his eyes. Children who can do no wrong. It’s what we want everyone to see. It’s how we wish life would be. And life is…
But that’s not why the ornament hangs as one of my favorites on our Christmas tree. It is the imperfect family I see. The trials we face. The mistakes we’ve made. The painful circumstances we never asked for, and maybe never deserved. And life is…wonderful?
But if you’ve seen the movie and know the story portrayed by the timeless performances of Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, you know why the smiles are genuine. The laughter is vibrant. Their deep love for each other is rich. It is a family who has straddled misery and unfairness and significant loss, yet stands together at the end. Restored. Renewed. Spilling over with joy.
Life is wonderful, certainly not because of our imperfections, but because of our response to it. Choosing to stand against the fires of life. Loving others, forgiving, offering grace and hope. Doing the right thing.
Smile for the camera this Christmas season, not to impress your Facebook friends, but to express love for your family, friends, and neighbors. And if you can’t be genuine about it, then ask yourself why. And watch the movie.