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It’s a wonderful life

by davesandel on December 26th, 2021

Sunday, December 26, 2021                                      (today’s lectionary)

Feast of the Holy Family

It’s a wonderful life       

Jesus said to Mary and Joseph, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know I must be in my Father’s house?”

We spent yesterday with a holy family, and we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus before opening presents. Before our afternoon’s Christmas dinner, Aki thanked Jesus for being with us and asked for humility, for God’s grace in each of us to be who we are in his sight, not our own. That’s one of those prayers that cannot be reserved for Christmas; it’s a daily prayer in the midst of a daily battle, and a daily mercy that we receive.

See what love the Father has bestowed on us, that we may be called the children of God. And so we are.

Christmas can be a long day. Miles and Jasper waited for us to get there before they opened presents. They had baths and put on their family ‘jamies, they ate pigs-in-a-blanket with ketchup, they walked around looking at all that shiny stuff, going a little crazy, waiting. They helped Andi and Aki take down the plastic fence around the tree and all those gifts. Screaming, I’m sure. Grinning from ear to ear.

We got there by 8:15 am with Starbucks. Peppermint mocha. “Thank you! This is my Christmas,” Andi smiled. And the wild scrambling began. The kids have learned how to rip paper off boxes, and they had more fun doing that, and seeing what was inside, than anything. There was a giant garbage truck, and a Lego set for Daddy and Miles to work on together, and even a soccer goal with two months of lessons next year for Miles.

Andi made a beautiful photographic canvas of my mom and dad. That certainly wasn’t on any list, but opening it was my favorite moment of the day, caught in the joy of past Christmases, remembering my parents’ smiles. There’s nothing like being a little boy.

Of course we’re grown up now, kind of. We get tired a lot quicker than Miles and Jasper. But they are usually happy to sit for us to read a story together, or make one up.

Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

There was still no traffic in Austin when we drove home. The sun was setting at the end of an 80 degree Christmas. We went to bed pretty early, but I got up again, and watched the end of It’s A Wonderful Life, thinking about our day with Jesus and our family.

“If you’re up there and you can hear me, show me the way. I’m at the end of my rope. Show me the way, God.” And of course, Clarence does his best to do just that. World War Two is over. Celebrations all over the world. But George Bailey is ready to jump in the river. Fortunately, Clarence jumps in first and screams for help, so George has to postpone his own death to save his guardian angel.

Still, nothing’s changed. George is trapped and miserable in his life. “I wish I’d never been born.”

Clarence catches an idea sent down from Joseph, his team leader in heaven. “OK, George. You’ve never been born.”

Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. Every man on that transport died. Harry wasn’t there to save them because you weren’t there to save Harry. You see, George, you’ve had a wonderful life.

“Please God, let me live again.” And he does. And as you surely know, George comes back to the world, touched by an angel, full of joy unstoppable, unreachable by circumstance. “Merry Christmas, you wonderful old building and loan. Isn’t it wonderful, I’m going to jail!”

You see, George, you’re having a wonderful life. “Hee haw, and Merry Christmas! To my big brother George, the richest man in town.”

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, and whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus …

Attaboy, Clarence. We’ll take a cup of kindness yet.

giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 (Sirach 3, 1 Samuel 1, Psalm 128, Psalm 84, Colossians 3, 1 John 3, Luke 2)

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