At this particular moment 2 wooden plaques bearing the same sentimental reference to this classic movie occupy 2 prominent places within my kitchen. The simple black and white one is a permanent fixture. I bring out this colorful and pumpkin adorned one each Labor day to enhance a fairly elaborate attempt at fall decorating. (Fall is the beginning of the best 2 seasons of the year) I used to be confused by that sign’s apparently mixed messages — autumn décor enhancing an obvious Christmas motif. However the longer one lives one gets used to commercials marketing school supplies with the Hallelujah Chorus and Andy Williams advertising pumpkin spiced treats as The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Marketers will always have us believe there are Wonderful seasons in life and we just have to wait for the next one to be content. I confess that I was always a fall into Christmas kind of girl. Fall was the best only to be superceded by a better if shorter Christmas season. That left about 8 months of the year just waiting fo the advent of the next best season. Then I started thinking about the movie It’s a Wonderful Life itself. Even though it’s a Christmas movie, so much of the film depicts the drama in the daily grind– Bedford Falls outside of the superlative season. In his simply rendered black and white film, Frank Capra reminds us how routine actions and attitudes, disciplined responses, and the power behind people willing to pray give us a wonderful life if we believe it. I’m talking to myself here as much as anyone else. Making the choice to believe I have a wonderful Life is one of the reasons that the black and white plaque remains nailed to the wall. Most of the classic Christmas movies reveal a similar message that is in danger of becoming obsolete. And so at the risk of being misunderstood today’s transcendant pairing of cinema and Scripture is: “Christmas isn’t just a day– it’s a frame of mind”–Miracle on 34Th Street and For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: King James Version
(I know they’re from different movies– but they’re all classics for a reason.)
What do you do to keep Christmas in your frame of mind?