"It's a Wonderful Life" (Revisited)
If you’re like my family, every year around Christmastime you sit down to watch It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s a film that failed when it first came out. Perhaps Frank Capra hadn’t brushed enough honey around the rim of the cup, because there is a bitter drug in that drink, bitter but healthful. Yes, an angel gets his wings, and the cast breaks out into a rousing chorus of Hark, the Herald Angels Sing, and Jimmy Stewart croons a few off-key bars, homely and ordinary and believable. But beneath it all lies the bare truth.
Our lives seldom attain to any glory, not here. Only a few men can be war heroes, like Harry Bailey, or business magnates, like Sam Wainwright. The rest of us, just about everybody, will face the choice that the protagonist, George Bailey, faced all his life. We may recognize the duties that bind us to this spouse, these children, these neighbors, this family history, this utterly ordinary place called Bedford Falls, or we may go our own way, and pursue those objects of a…
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