Sunday, December 2, 2012

Day One: It’s A Wonderful Life

I’m still undecided about when to write each day. I suppose it will depend on what specifically I’m writing about and which part of the day it happened, or the thought occurred to me; this is of course the essence of random rambles sprinkled with a little Christmas spirit.

Last night I watched “It’s A Wonderful Life” as my daily Christmas movie. I’ve only seen it once before, so I had forgotten most of what happened; the main thing I remembered is that I liked it. Good enough for me! This time as I was watching it I couldn’t help thinking about the title and what the words mean. I’m not talking about in the context of the movie, but more egocentric – in the context of my own life. I have many things to be thankful for, many ways my life is “wonderful”.

Being an admitted word-lover, I went to my old friend Webster to find the specific definition of “wonderful”. I discovered the phrase “unusually good”. So if we look again at the title, it would read “It’s An Unusually Good Life”. Now tell me that didn’t make you smile!

The basic plot of the story, in case you haven’t seen it or don’t remember, is that a man named George Bailey repeatedly sacrifices his own wishes and dreams to help those around him – his family, friends, and community members in the small town where he lives. Set in the late 1930’s and thru WWII, it’s obvious that times were simpler, and yet the complexities of life have remained unchanged. When someone steals money that will ultimately bankrupt his business, George realizes his life insurance policy makes his death of more value than his life and considers suicide. His Guardian Angel (second class, no wings yet) intervenes.

This part is reminiscent of “A Christmas Carol”, although in this case Clarence (the angel) shows George what life would have been like had he never existed. The town would be a slum, his brother would be killed as a boy, and his mother and wife would be lonely and bitter. When George returns to the present, to his home, he is greeted by the police as well as many friends from the community who give him more than enough money to make things right.

Now, getting back to reality, it's a fact that none of us will be granted a view of life any different from what we know. In some ways, that makes it more difficult for us to realize the impact we have on this world just by being in it. So we have to train ourselves to pay close attention to our words and actions, every day, in every situation. It’s the random acts of kindness, the words of encouragement, the smiles that we pass along that make every day an important piece of “an unusually good” life. Not just for ourselves, but for each person we come in contact with – family, friends, coworkers, even cashiers at Wal-mart or Safeway.

This time of year it’s more difficult for me to remember how good my life really is; there are very few things I need that I don’t have, and I am thankful for that. Yet those things that are missing play a significant role in my sense of happiness, accomplishment, and safety. So I have to believe that God will bring those into my life, and  patiently wait for them no matter how much longer it takes (patiently is the hard part!); if I stop believing, I will lose the ability to live this “unusually good” life I’ve been blessed with.

Returning again to my first day of Christmas, watching a movie and considering how unusually good my life is, can be, and will continue to be, I made a list of just a few of the hundreds of blessings I’m surrounded by every day, and designed a special project I plan to create to remind me of those blessings. I’ll be sure to post a photo of it when it’s finished, and I encourage you to do the same, even if you simply stick the list on the front of your refrigerator, or tape it to your mirror. I promise you that having it on display, somewhere you can return to each day, will increase your joy for life and faith in the indescribable Creator who designed it.

This is getting a bit long. However, before I go, I want to tell you about another project I’m starting; it’s somewhat well-known in the crafting world, a specific type of mini album called a “December Daily” that is designed to record the events of each of the 25 days of Christmas. I’ve never made one before, in fact last year at this time is the first I had heard of them, but this year I decided it would be a valuable aspect of my new life adventure and desire to become a better person. Again, photos when I’m finished putting it together, which will hopefully be later this evening (I finally have a good use for some of that Christmas paper in my stash!)

Also, as part of these daily Christmas countdown posts, I’m going to share what I intend to record in that album. For day one, Oliver and I spent most of our day at Paper Pals working on another album that I will be sharing about in a few weeks, and collaborating with a few friends who also enjoy the world of creating. We came home, ate dinner, watched a movie, and chatted with a friend online. I made some hot chocolate that turned out to be rather disgusting, and eventually found sleep. It was rainy, windy, and cold most of the day, so I decided not to join some friends at the local tree lighting. Over all, a lazy, relaxing start to the month of December!

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