In case you missed Jerry’s December column in WordSmith, here it is again.
I’ve always been a sucker for a tear-jerking story, but somehow I missed this Jimmy Stewart Christmas vehicle until I was flipping channels late one night while I was in my thirties and had a young family.
I’d heard of it for years, many friends listing it among their favorite movies of all time. The title alone had always put me off. What kind of a sappy Frank Capra piece could it represent? I mean, Capra-esque had become a pejorative adjective.
But I was riveted from the first scene, and when the engine of the story revved up, I was in it until the end. The saga of a man longing to leave his little hometown, only to discover that everything he sought he already owned, will never grow old. Quaint and old-fashioned, this 64-year-old film remains timeless.
I scoured the TV listings and insisted we all enjoy it together. The kids rolled their eyes, but they were soon as engrossed as I had been.
We haven’t missed watching It’s a Wonderful Life at Christmastime together in more than 25 years since. We all know every line, and now even our kids’ kids have begun watching, usually without a dry eye.
Little surprise that Jenkins Entertainment’s What If… is a modern take on It’s a Wonderful Life. Ours shows a man getting a glimpse of what his life would have been like had he made the right choices, rather than what the world would be like had he never been born.
There’s something satisfying about coming full circle and paying homage to my favorite Christmas story outside the Bible.
Jerry B. Jenkins is the author of more than 175 books with sales of more than 70 million copies, including the best-selling Left Behind series. His latest novel is The Betrayal, the second book in the Precinct 11 series. Look for As Good As She Imagined, the story of Christina-Taylor Green, in January. Visit him online.