It’s a Wonderful Life is more popular today than when it opened in 1946. This movie, popular between both unbelievers and believers, should remind us of the impact we can have as this Christmas season approaches.

Two spiritual principles are so prevalent in it:

  1. Be willing to sacrifice your own dreams for a higher cause. 

    Toward the beginning of the film, George Bailey plans to leave the little town of Bedford Falls and follow his dream of traveling the world. However, with the unexpected death of his father, he faces a sobering decision. His father’s local business, Bailey Brothers Building and Loan, is the only business protecting the people of Bedford Falls from the powerful grip of Mr. Potter, the greedy town banker. George reluctantly realizes that if he left town to follow his own dream, Bailey Brothers Building and Loan would fall into Mr. Potter’s wicked hands. He chooses to stay.

    Similarly, our lives as believers must be lived from eternity backward. What matters the most in heaven needs to matter the most to us right now. That elevated perspective values people, not things: “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Tim. 6:7). 

    If the higher cause will benefit people and make a greater impact for Christ, we should be willing to lay selfish ambitions to the side. When we see the Savior face-to-face, we will realize that we made the right decision and will even receive eternal rewards from the King of Kings.
  2. Never underestimate the impact your life can have.

    When Uncle Billy misplaces the building and loan’s $8,000 on Christmas Eve, the company faces bankruptcy, collapse of the business, and George’s ensuing arrest.  George is at the lowest point in his life. He even contemplates jumping from a bridge into icy waters to end his life.

    That’s when Clarence Oddbody—Angel 2nd class—arrives on the scene! He jumps in first, knowing George will try to save him. In George’s despair, he tells the angel that he wished he had never been born.

    Clarence grants George the wish and the nightmarish reality of what life would have been like if he truly had never been born begins to unfold. Clarence reminds him of many things, including the brother he saved from dying at age nine.

    As a child of God, never underestimate the impact your life can have through kindness extended to a friend, forgiveness given to an enemy, a letter written to a marital couple contemplating divorce, labor done above anything expected at work, or the mentoring of your own children. 

    That impact only increases if you witness on behalf of the Christ of Christmas. You may be the fourth of 15 people God uses to bring someone to Christ or the sixth of 32.  Every person counts in evangelism. One may sow the seed of the gospel that causes the other person to think about his need for Christ. Another may reap the harvest in terms of seeing the person actually come to the Savior. But Christ declared, “He who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together” (John 4:37).

As Christmas approaches, enjoy the classic It’s a Wonderful Life. Don’t miss out on the spiritual truths in this powerful story. In so doing, the movie will do more than impact your evening; it will impact your life.