Summary: As we look at the classic movie It’s A Wonderful Life, we discuss the impact that each of our Christian lives can have on the world around us.
A. I hope and pray that you had a wonderful Christmas, we sure did.
1. I also hope you gave and received some special gifts.
2. I received a special gift from one of my daughters that will aid my preaching preparation. The title of the book is The Best of the Good Clean Jokes, by Bob Phillips.
3. Here’s a sample – An after dinner speaker was in such a hurry to get to his speaking engagement that when he arrived and sat down at the head table, he realized that he had forgotten his false teeth.
a. Turning to the man next to him he said, “Oh no, I forgot to bring my false teeth.”
b. The man said, “No problem,” and he reached into his pocket and pulled out a pair of false teeth. “Try these,” he said. The speaker tried them, but said, “They are too loose.”
c. The man said, “I have another pair, try these.” The speaker tried them, but said, “Too tight.”
d. The man was not taken back at all, he said, “I have one more pair, try these.”
e. The speaker said, “They fit perfectly.” With that he ate his meal and gave his speech.
f. After the event was over, the speaker went up to the man to thank him for his help with the teeth. He said, “I want to thank you for coming to my aid. Where is your office? I’ve been looking for a good dentist.”
g. The man replied, “You’re welcome, but I’m not a dentist. I’m a funeral director.”
4. That has absolutely nothing to do with today’s sermon, but I thought you might enjoy it.
B. Today’s lesson is our final sermon in this three-part series I’ve called Christmas Classics.
1. We been looking at three of the best holiday films of all time, and we have been drawing some spiritual lessons from them.
2. Today’s Christmas Classic movie is my all-time favorite – It’s A Wonderful Life.
3. How many of you have seen that film? I figured that most, if not all, of us would have seen it.
C. It’s A Wonderful Life was made in 1946 and went into general release on January 7, 1947.
1. It was produced and directed by Frank Capra and loosely based on the short story "The Greatest Gift" written by Philip Van Doren Stern.
2. Stern had tried to get someone to pick up his short story and make it into a movie, but it was going nowhere. So he decided to make it into a Christmas card which he sent out to all his friends and contacts.
3. It got picked up by a movie company for $10,000 and three movie scripts were made from the short story, but none of them made it to production.
4. When Frank Capra discovered the short story, he bought the rights to it and the three movie scripts for $10,000 and the rest is history.
D. Capra assembled a fantastic cast including Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore.
1. The film did okay at the box office, coming it at 26th among the 400 features released that year, just one place ahead of the Christmas movie we discussed last week – Miracle on 34th Street.
2. It became the Christmas movie classic it is today only because of its repeated television showings at Christmas-time in the 1970s, when its copyright protection slipped and it fell into the public domain and TV stations could air it for free.
3. Currently, it can be shown only on the NBC-TV network, and its distribution rights belong to Paramount Pictures.
E. It’s a Wonderful Life was nominated for five Oscars without winning any, but the film has since been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made, and placed number one on their list of the most inspirational American films of all time.
1. In 1990, It’s a Wonderful Life was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.
2. Years later during an interview, Jimmy Stewart reflected, “Today, after some 50 years, I’ve heard the film called ‘an American cultural phenomenon.’ Well, maybe so, but it seems to me there is nothing phenomenal about the movie itself. It’s simply about an ordinary man who discovers that living each ordinary day honorably, with faith in God and a selfless concern for others, can make for a truly wonderful life.”
A. It’s A Wonderful Life tracks the fortunes (or misfortunes) of George Bailey, the unsung, beloved hero of Bedford Falls, whose every attempt to leave what he perceives as a humdrum existence in this small town is stunted for various reasons.