Can Christmas Bring Us Together as a Family?

What are your Christmas traditions? Which ones mean the most to you? For most of us, the traditions we cherish don't exist in a vacuum, of Christmas solidarity. Instead, the traditions we remember fondly involve specially-prepared foods like Scrooge's figgy pudding, an annual Artic trip to locate the perfect Christmas tree like the Griswolds, or opening presents in a manner that reminds us of the Parker household and a certain B.B. gun. 

But for Christmas to really mean family, it usually means that we've lived through the best and the worst moments with those people, exploring the deepest reaches of human connection... like George Bailey. 

In It's a Wonderful Life, George Bailey has tried so hard to be good, and yet he feels that he has come up short and let so many people down. He's facing down the angry, Scrooge-like character Henry Potter in Frank Capra's classic parable about redemption and Christmas. In one fateful moment, he wishes that he would cease to exist and that his life would be over, never imagining the deep and profound impact that would have on his little town of Bedford Falls. 

Thanks to the angel Clarence, Bailey sees a world without him - where some have died without him, others have lost everything, and, in general, Bedford Falls is not a place you'd Christmas vacation. Suddenly, Bailey has been Scrooged, he's realized the true meaning of Christmas, and of life, and he experiences a come-to-Jesus, Christmas morning-miracle that changes, well, everything. 

Suddenly, George Bailey realizes who he is and what he's meant for; he values his job, his family, and his life in ways he never knew before. Christmas has healed his heart, and brought him closer to the One who created and called him. And in the process, he's aware that his family is bigger and broader than he ever imagined. 

In the week ahead, we all have a chance to make a difference, to be reminded of who our family is, both by blood and by choice. We have the opportunity to remind someone that they are not alone, that they belong, that they are the child of God. This week, consider who in your life needs to be reminded that you love them, whether they are a friend or stranger, and who you can draw closer to with a little grace, a little forgiveness, a little Christmas miracle of your own. 

For those who've already watched all of the classics and are looking for something new, consider Angels in the Snow, Christmas for a Dollar, The Christmas Project, or Miracle Maker to instill a little of that familiar Christmas spirit!