a gracious holiday

Ever since my 31 Days of Gracious Living I haven't been able to shake graciousness from my mind. I think about gracious living often and pray for a gracious heart. Then on Monday we watched It's a Wonderful Life, and I was reminded of how gracious this season can really be.

{You can buy your own copy of It's a Wonderful Life here --it's a film worth owning}

Think of George Bailey. See how many lives his one life affected? See how his inadvertent graciousness blessed his life and the life of everyone he knew? See the effect of a gracious life, even when it's lived unintentionally? George never wanted to stick around Bedford Falls. He wanted to see the world and build things. But because the core of his heart was gracious, he stayed in Bedford Falls and built a beautiful life.

Then there's Mary, George's wife. One of the most touching parts of this story is when George leaves his house after blowing up at his family. George is scared and confused about the missing money, and he feels very alone. Mary was initially defensive and upset with George, but as soon as she realizes the state of his heart, she encourages her children to pray and takes action to find George the help he needs.

I wish we could watch what happened when Mary left the house to rally the town. What did her pleas sound like? What was her response when she saw how willing and eager the neighbors were to help George? What was Mary's journey that night? I wish I knew. What I do know after watching that film is that a gracious life is never wasted, a gracious heart is always needed. Christmas is a holiday primed for gracious living, and I hope we can all take a moment to soften our hearts and our calendars and make room for gracious living.

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