It’s THAT time of year. The time of tinsel and lights. The time of Christmas trees and trimming. The time of carols, peace on earth, and good will. It’s the time for…
It’s A Wonderful Life!
No matter how many times we view it, it seems that every year, viewing the Frank Capra/Jimmy Stewart classic is as much a tradition of the season of Christmas as decking the halls, drinking egg nog, or wearing ugly sweaters. No matter how many times we see the image of George Bailey running down the snow-filled streets of Bedford Falls, screaming to people, buildings, and other inanimate objects, it gives us hope to know that George will discover the deeper meaning of Christmas, that he will learn a lot about friendship and the love people have for him, that his life does matter, and that Clarence does get his wings.
And we learn all of this, and leave our seats with a warm and happy feeling of hope and joy — not just for George, but for ourselves as well — all the while leaning heavy on the spirit of Christmas, and ignoring…
Regardless of your political persuasion, the vast majority of people who watch It’s A Wonderful Life (and for that matter, most other Christmas classics) are forced to ignore a fair amount of what we would now term “political correctness”. We have to ignore portrayals, dialogue, and stereotypes that fly in the face of our 2015 social sensibilities. We tend to overlook these things for a variety of reasons…
“Well, that show was filmed a long time ago.”
“Culture was very different then.”
“It’s the season of good will… let it slide.”
“So what are you saying Pastor??? Are you saying that we should crack down on George Bailey, Santa Claus, Frosty, and Rudolph???”
Not at all, and quite the opposite. What I am saying is that maybe we have allowed political correctness to run amok. Maybe we should take a long, hard look at what we consider politically correct, and stop wasting our time fighting over things that matter not an iota while the world goes to Hell. Maybe we should cut each other the slack in January through November that we afford George, Sam Wainwright (“hee haw!!!”), Uncle Billy, and even Old Man Potter in December. Maybe the fact that we are less offended in December lies less in a spirit of good will, and more in the fact that we have become a culture that works very hard to be offended, and go out of our way to wear every offense like a badge of honor. We have become perpetual victims, moving from offense to offense, looking for the next people group we can turn into the next victim and downtrodden minority.
Are there legitimate poor and afflicted in this world?
My point is that the person waiting in the wings, stirring up dissension, and cashing in on the next “soapbox of social injustice” is probably not a crusader for a cause… they are more than likely simply a voice of division and disharmony and simply cashing in.
The Bible cautions us…
Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry,
For anger rests in the bosom of fools…
Also do not take to heart everything people say,
Lest you hear your servant cursing you.
For many times, also, your own heart has known
That even you have cursed others. ~ Ecclesiastes 7:9, 21-22
Fools show their annoyance at once,
but the prudent overlook an insult. ~ Proverbs 12:16 (NIV)
Sure, there are things we need to take a stand for… TRUTH being chief among them. But when we go into every situation intent on being offended, we probably won’t be disappointed.
Honestly, we would do well to rediscover the ability to laugh at ourselves. Proverbs 17:22 says that a merry heart does good, like a medicine… But when the offense is legitimate or grave, we should probably step back, take a long look at the situation and our motives, and ask if our offense is better fought through confrontation or prayer.
Then take it to prayer.