One of my favorite movies to watch during the holiday season is “It’s a Wonderful Life” and this year, as I was scrolling through Pinterest I came across a very interesting article that really grabbed my attention. The title of the article was~“The George Bailey Effect: How To Be More Grateful”. As many of you probably know, my family was hit extremely hard with the stomach flu. It started two weeks before Christmas and every other day someone else came down with it. We had to cancel many of our Christmas plans, plans that have become treasured family traditions we look forward to all year. As Christmas Day approached, I found myself sad that everything got canceled and my kids and grandkids were all so sick. In a nutshell, the idea of the article was to take a lesson from George Bailey and try to imagine what your life might be like without your spouse, your kids, your grandkids, your home etc. It definitely works and makes you more grateful for all God has blessed you with. It also helps you realize how much you take for granted. Unfortunately, because we are human, that “George Bailey feeling” feels right in the moment~but when the reality of life hits you hard again~you forget about all those George Bailey vibes and you’re right back to square one. You might find yourself thinking~ I DO have so much to be thankful for, but I’m still sad. Why can’t I have joy? What’s wrong with me?
The answer does not come from George Bailey or Clarence or a movie about how wonderful your life truly is. The answer, the only answer is Christ. Our happiness is often highly invested in our happenings which can turn from good to bad in the blink of an eye, but joy- true joy is only found in Christ. He is our Hope, our Gift of Love, our Salvation, our Eternal Life, our home in heaven, our Wonderful, our Pure, inexplicable Joy. It could never hurt to use the George Bailey Effect and to remember all we have to be thankful for, but let’s also remember that even when the unexpected hits you (i.e. you’re entire family is throwing up) and Christmas Day or any day isn’t what you expected~ it wasn’t what Mary and Joseph expected either~and yet it was the Miracle of Miracles that changed the entire world.
At some point in our lives we will all go through unexpected heartache, much harder than a flu bug. We might even feel as if our happiness is lost forever but out of the unexpected, a filthy cattle stall, your Miracle of Joy was born. You may be headed into this new year with a heavy, hurting heart, due to that unexpected. Whatever you are facing today- look to that manger and to His cross, realizing what a gift God has given you. His Son. What awe that brings to my heart, a peace that can’t be explained but a peace and joy that others understand who have also received His miracle into their own heart and life. Only Jesus can turn our sadness into dancing and fill our hearts with gladness. Some days will always be harder than others but even on those days, He will hold you close and whisper to your soul that all is well. And it truly can be a wonderful life. Your wonderful life.