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"It's a Wonderful Life" Celebrates 75 Years, Its Gospel Message Has Stood the Test of Time

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What is your must-see Christmas movie?

For thousands, it’s not Christmas until they’ve watched “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Could it be the Gospel message that rings so loudly in this Christmas classic that makes it popular with each generation?

According to The Daily Wire, Frank Capra’s film starring James Stewart as George Bailey “is returning to the big screen in December to mark the classic movie’s 75th anniversary. In an announcement from Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies shared it will bring Frank Capra’s great Christmas movie back to theaters for two days, December 18 and again on December 21.”

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Anne Morse, author of Bedford Falls: The Story Continues, penned an Op-Ed in The Christian Post a few years back, naming the reasons she believes it’s a classic.

First, she says, we love it because we have “lost a sense of community.” This may be even more true now in a post-pandemic world. We love finding ourselves in Bedford Falls pulling together with all the lovable characters for the great cause of helping a friend.

Second, Morse observes that “who doesn’t like seeing good triumphing over evil, of little guys like George Bailey outfoxing powerful bullies like Henry F. Potter, the richest and meanest man in the county, over and over again?” That certainly sounds right in a times when the lines are often blurred. This film is black-and-white and so are the distinctions between those who choose right and those who don’t.

More importantly, though, Morse says that “It’s a Wonderful Life” delivers the heart of the gospel.

It is “a magnificent cinematic depiction of the words of Jesus: ‘For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his own soul?’ (Matthew 16:26).”

Just as Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, so George Bailey is tempted by the greedy Henry Potter, with all the riches and travels he knows George has long desired.

“George sacrifices his dream of the exciting life he wants so desperately to live in order to give his brother Harry the life HE wants to live, perhaps sensing that Harry would be a miserable failure at the Building and Loan business.”

“George Bailey’s soul was not for sale. Without realizing it, George, through his many sacrifices for others, has spent his life imitating Christ. And Potter, by forfeiting his soul for earthly wealth, becomes, as George puts it, a ‘warped, frustrated old man.'”

Morse calls the film a “masterpiece of biblical teaching.”

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George must consistently choose to follow the ways of God to create a good life — often sacrificing what he wants to serve others.

In the end, George realizes the reward of those sacrifices is that he has become “the richest man in town” because the seeds of love he’s sown have grown into deep, abiding friendships.

If it’s been awhile, this is the year to revisit Bedford Falls and remember why “It’s a Wonderful Life” is one of our favorite Christmas movies of all times.

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Lori Stanley Roeleveld is a writer, speaker, Christian coach and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored five books with a sixth on the way. Though she has degrees in Psychology and Biblical Studies, Lori learned the most from studying her Bible in life’s trenches. Rhode Islander. Wife, mom, grandmom, retired homeschool parent, part-time giant-slayer. Visit her at www.loriroeleveld.com.
Lori Stanley Roeleveld is a writer, speaker, Christian coach and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored five books with a sixth on the way. Though she has degrees in Psychology and Biblical Studies, Lori learned the most from studying her Bible in life’s trenches. Rhode Islander. Wife, mom, grandmom, retired homeschool parent, part-time giant-slayer. Visit her at www.loriroeleveld.com.




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