December 16, 2017
Is there anything not to like about Christmas? The answer is a resounding NO, and I include the secular sham that goes with it, expensive trees and cheap pink paper and maddening shopping. The birth of our Lord Jesus came in handy on his 1914th birthday, when the German and British troops called a halt to the slaughter and played football instead. (The high command should have followed the troops’ example, but they ordered the mayhem to continue from the warmth of their various castles.) Even Hollywood used to—I say used to—get into the spirit of Christmas and made films that warmed the heart and spread good cheer. Has a movie ever touched us more than Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life? George Bailey, played by the great Jimmy Stewart, has given up on an impeccably lived life helping his fellow man and the community in general, while resisting temptations to sell out to the greedy tycoon played by Lionel Barrymore. Broke and disillusioned on Christmas Eve, he’s about to throw himself into the freezing river and end it all when a “failed” angel played by Henry Travers befriends him and talks him out of it. And makes him see all the gifts he already has, like a beautiful and loyal family and fellow townspeople who love and respect him. It naturally has a happy ending and is a lesson to us all: Appreciate what you’ve got and keep your spirits up at all times.