Timeless Life Lessons from “It’s a Wonderful Life”


Editor’s Note
: Last night while at my in-law’s home for Christmas Eve the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life was playing. The movie is a touching Christmas classic and I would argue one of the most beloved movies of all time. The movie is produced and directed by Frank Capra, 
based on the short story and booklet The Greatest Gift, which Philip Van Doren Stern published in 1943. The movie stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his dreams to help others, and whose impending suicide on Christmas Eve but with the help of his guardian angel, Clarence. Clarence proceeds to show George how his life has touched the lives of so many others and how much different life would be for his wife Mary and his community of Bedford Falls if George had not been born. I reflected my own life and the ‘What ifs.’ 

As I watched the movie (I seemed to be the only one watching while others were busy playing a board game Risk that my son Preston brought over) I began to feel a sense of dismay as I thought of how the movie parallels our lives today. I said to myself: are now living in Pottersville? 

Just the other morning while viewing News Channel 5 numerous tv commercials of gambling, casinos, title pawn, payday lenders and more were playing. I thought of how our community and country will continue to suffer much greater problems when people fall prey to the 300% interest rates and become addicted to gambling and lose everything they have worked for. 

The movie is full of some important life lessons. Maybe I’m old fashioned or becoming philosophical as I grow older, but I often feel like I’m the only one who seems to notice these issues.

Feel free to email me and let me know your thoughts at MikeSparksTn@gmail.com.


By Ron Edmondson | December 25, 2017

“It’s a Wonderful Life” has to be one of my all-time favorite movies. I have probably seen it thirty times or more.

I read recently, the movie was not a success the first few years after it’s release. No one could sit through the hard part to get to the happy ending. Aren’t we like this with life sometimes?

One of our local, historic theaters has shared the film for Christmas on the big screen. There is something even more wonderful about “It’s a Wonderful Life” in this setting.


Having watched the movie so many times, I once took time to reflect on how many life lessons this movie provides.

Here are 10 life lessons from “It’s a Wonderful Life”:

It’s not just about us. Other lives matter. We are better, richer, because of other people.

When we hurt, we hurt others. When we are in pain, we tend to feel we are suffering alone, but this is never the case. When someone we love hurts – we hurt.

We can’t hide our pain from people we love. They know. They may not know how to help or even how to express their concern – at least not in a way we will receive it – but they know – and care.

We need community. We really do need people in our life. We never realize this more than when we are in need. (I can’t imagine my life personally without the church.)

There is power in cooperation. We can do great things when we work together. I love this quote by Aimee Semple McPherson, “With God, I can do great things! But with God and you, and the people who you can interest, by the grace of God, we’re gonna change the world!” So true.

We seldom know the impact we have on others. Or, the good we are doing. I think God may protect us from foolish pride this way – thinking it is all about us. But, when we care – when we love others – when we strive to make a difference – we make a bigger splash on humanity than we could ever measure.

Character speaks louder than cash. Every. Single. Time. I’d rather have my integrity than a stuffed wallet any day. And, I’d rather have friends I can trust – and strive to be like – than friends who can buy my lunch.

“All you can take with you is that which you have given away”. (Peter Bailey) There are so many Biblical principles in this movie – this is one of them. Storing up treasures where moth and rust cannot destroy – it really does make for a wonderful life.

No man is a failure who has friends.” (Clarence) You can’t watch the movie and not wonder if you’d have friends come through for you as George Bailey did. I’m reminded the best way to have a friend is to be one. It worked for George – and it still works today.

Our life matters. Your life matters. (“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” – Clarence.) God makes no mistake with His creation. He has a purpose for every soul, in which He breathes life.


As a consultant and coach, for almost 20 years I have helped thousands of leaders and organizations get better. I served as CEO of Leadership Network and as a pastor. We revitalized two churches and planting two churches. I also have a long history in business, government and nonprofit work.

For over 35 years, I have been in a leadership position; mostly as a senior leader. My education includes a seminary master’s and a master’s in organizational leadership. I am close to my doctorate in educational leadership. Also, I once helped lead a mid-sized city, where I served as Vice Mayor and Finance Chair.

The greatest times for Cheryl and me our with our adult sons, Jeremy, his wife Mary, and our youngest son Nate and his wife Courtney.  Jeremy and Mary blessed us with our grandchildren, Eleanor and Margot. Life also includes a sweet Yorkiepoo named Lexi.

Over 20 years ago, I founded a non-profit ministry called Mustard Seed Ministry.  We provide devotional resources, conduct family and leadership seminars, as well as coaching and consulting. My Myers Briggs INTJ personality has served me well in leadership. I am certified to give the official assessments. Full of big ideas, I love creative and critical thinking, but especially love to see progress.