It’s a Terrible Afterlife

As we close in on Christmas, traditions are being brought out of storage and renewed. One tradition for NBC is showing the 1946 film It’s a Wonderful Life, and watching it is a yearly staple for many Americans.

The story of George Bailey being shown the tragic consequences of what would happen if he was granted his wish of having never been born is beloved, placing 11th on the American Film Institute’s original list of the 100 greatest American films ever made. It was also their top selection for most inspirational film ever made. Remember that as we go through this, that the body whose sole responsibility is judging films made in America chose this as their best inspirational film the country has ever produced.

Many people, of course, would agree with that assessment. George, facing a low point in his life on Christmas Eve, seems ready to kill himself, and makes that wish that he’d never been born. Angel-in-training Clarence comes to Earth in the nick of time with a splashy entrance, and shows George how much he has touched others’ lives. People learn the message that everyone can have a major impact on other people, being a force for good just by being good. That’s one lesson to learn. I learned a different lesson. Continue reading

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