Advent Devotional for Sunday, December 23, 2018

Christmas Character: George Bailey from It’s A Wonderful Life

Suggested viewing: The 1946 Frank Capra film, It’s A Wonderful Life

A few years ago, my family began a new Christmas tradition. Every few years we go to Tennessee and spend Christmas in the Smokey Mountains. For me, one of the best parts of the trip is the view from the cabin porch. If you have spent any time in the Smokey Mountains, then you know the views do not disappoint. My favorite morning routine is to grab a cup of coffee and sit on the porch looking out at the snow-covered pine trees. Typically, we spend the day either walking around town or we spend time together talking, laughing, and playing games. It is one of my favorite traditions. No matter where we are for Christmas, though, there is one tradition we always do—watch all the Christmas classics.

I’ve always enjoyed the movie, It’s A Wonderful Life. There is something about George Bailey that I admire. Throughout the movie we see a common characteristic in George that I think is a perfect example of living a Christ-centered life. Early in the movie, we get a glimpse of this characteristic. While sledding on a frozen river, George’s brother Harry falls through some broken ice. Without hesitation, George jumps in after his brother, pulling him to safety. As a result, George develops an infection from the cold water and loses his hearing in one ear. As George grows older we continue to see this Christ-like characteristic. It is the same characteristic we see in the widowed woman in Luke 21:1-4. “As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small cooper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4)

George Bailey, like the widow, lived a sacrificial life. He had a true servant’s heart. As we near Christmas this year I want to encourage you to continue serving the needs of the community around us. Maybe it’s baking cookies for your neighbor or taking an extra minute to really ask someone, “How are you?” This Christmas, will you take some time to care for those around you?

Joshua Price, Youth Minister