The Moderator of the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly, Rt Rev Dr Derek Browning, reflects on how one our favourite Christmas films can show us the meaning of Christmas and the meaning of our wonderful lives.
Here’s an easy Christmas favourite film to guess – which one do you think it is?
On Christmas Eve, 1945, in Bedford Falls, USA, George Bailey is suicidal. George had founded a loan company which, generously, gave out loans to ‘the little people’ to help them with housing, or business, or with their personal lives. He was the exact opposite of Scrooge. He shared with generosity; he welcomed and helped whenever he could, often at great personal cost to his own hopes and dreams.
Yet he faces constant opposition from a rival, and when George’s company encounters an accidental financial crisis, George is told that he’s worth more dead than alive. On Christmas Eve 1945 George stands on a bridge, determined to end it all.
“Dear Father in heaven: I’m not a praying man, if you’re up there, show me the way, show me the way, I’m at the end of the road.”
Prayers for George reach heaven, and Clarence Odbody, Angel 2nd Class, is assigned to save George in order to earn his angel wings. Before George can jump, Clarence jumps into the river and George jumps in after him to rescue him, and so the story unfolds.
Got the film yet? “It’s a Wonderful Life” – of course.
• Full message at the Church of Scotland.