Friday, December 24, 2010

George Bailey...Everyone Needs a Clarence!

Dear Readers,

George Bailey in the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” was ready to jump off the bridge into the frigid waters. He had reached the end and could not see any other way out. His idyllic fantasy of becoming a world traveling entrepreneur had long vanished. The honeymoon with his wife Mary Bailey now seemed like an obscure dream.

The demands of life became George’s reality. The family owned bank business was like an albatross around his neck. Mary and the kids turned from being a joy to a burden. Mr. Potter met him at every turn to thwart his success. George’s fond memories of his childhood town faded into the past and now Bedford Falls was his prison.

George felt out of options. The icy waters seemed to be his only way to find relief. He readied to jump, but a cry came out from the waters below. It was Clarence Odbody, the angel sent to save George from himself. George jumped in, saved Clarence, and the bumbling angel trying to earn his wings helped George see that “…no man is a failure who has friends.”

Do you feel like George this Christmas? I have felt like George from time to time. The demands of life start pressing in, the honeymoon feels over, and the options for relief, like the icy waters for George, seem the only way out.

Christmas is a time of expectation, but after Christmas day arrives and the fun ends, the expectation turns to the mundane task of taking down the decorations… and another year of hard work in our own Bedford Falls.

We all need a Clarence to help us to see our life with a fresh perspective, a perspective of hope and friendship, of the good things to come, of the fun of taking down the decorations and looking forward to the new things in the coming year.

I am not sure how angels really operate. I think that the movie used creative license to make the storyline more interesting. I do, however, think there is someone sent to save us from the icy waters and give us the fresh perspective we need of hope, friendship, and the possibilities of a new year. His name is Jesus!

See you next time,

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Smells, Sights, and Sounds of Christmas

Dear Readers,

Do you remember the smells of Christmas…the pine scent of the freshly cut tree, the cinnamon scent of hot cider, the hot electric odor of race cars speeding repeatedly around a track, the aroma of John Mary cookies in the oven? (I’m sorry if you never got to experience the aroma of John Mary cookies!) These smells have the uncanny knack to stay with you for the rest of your life. Even now many companies dealing with air fresheners capitalize on the déjà vu odors we remember from childhood.

What about the sights of Christmas? I was always fascinated by the lights, especially the bubble lights, ornaments, and tinsel of the tree. I sometimes would lay face-up on the floor under the tree looking upward to see my own personal twinkling light display. Also, I feel almost giddy when I remember spying a certain red plastic fire truck with a large bow on top. (I sure wish I could find that truck!) I could go on and on about frosted pictures on windows, never-lit candle figurines, a live puppy jumping out of a box, and our annual family trek to see an amazing house light display near Wooster, Ohio!

And who can ever forget the “Boofo Goes Where Santa Goes”, or Rabbits Have a Christmas” songs? (Well, maybe you never heard these specific songs at your house, but I am sure you remember songs like that!) My wife in recent years satisfied my childhood memories by purchasing the original Boofo/Rabbits record, and a remake of Boofo with additional songs that add to the Boofo storyline. 

My personal all-time favorite Christmas album, however, was, and I think still is “Now is the Caroling Season” by Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians. I am convinced the “Angels We Have Heard on High” song about shepherds in a field hearing angels tell of Jesus birth played an integral role years later in my acceptance of Jesus as my Savior.

I think God gave us our senses and memories to bring us closer to Him. He understands our nature and wants us to have softness in our hearts to the beauty of things around us, which has the potential of creating softness in our hearts toward Him and His Son Jesus Christ.
See you next time,