The Wonderful Life of Making Your World Small

I never thought the lives of George Baily and Clark Kent might cross the streams of commonality, tuns out I was wrong.

I don’t know about you, but one of my annual Christmas season traditions is to watch It’s a Wonderful Life on the silver screen.  It’s the classic story of one man, George Baily, and the impact his unglamorous life had – for the better – on a small town, and what that town might have become without him.  The Clark Kent in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel can be seen in a comparative light.

George Baily wanted to do big things and make something grand of his life since he was a boy, often talking about his love for National Geographic and wanting to explore the world.  That doesn’t change by his early twenties as he gets ready to tour Europe and go to college for architecture.   All that changes when his father dies and George has to take over the family business to prevent the villain of the film from shutting it down.  All those big dreams of making his way in the world go up in smoke.

Zack Snyder’s Clark Kent in Man of Steel confronts similar longings;  wanting to be known to the world who he is as he gets older; to do something of use and redound.  This is a consistent point of contention between Clark and his earthly father as he grows up; Johnathan wanting to keep his son’s origin and abilities secret while Clark would sometimes use them for the benefit of others (saving a buss full of students, including his best friend and future flame, from drowning).  Like George Baily, his life changes with the death of his father.  Instead of staying home, Clark goes out into the world, but home doesn’t leave him.  Clark takes with him the lessons his parents taught him, especially his mother’s lesson of making the world small; intentionally investing in others and being generous with who he was created to be, for the sake of others.  Not only does Clark invest in who Lois is by saving her life and in so doing entrust his secret to her, he allows her to be the one to tell his story to the world as a reporter for the Daily Planet.  Clark also gives of himself when he allows the military to turn him over to General Zod in hopes of sparinglife on earth from destruction.

George Baily ends up investing in others and making his world small also.  Instead of going to college, he gives the money to his kid brother Harry – whom he saved from drowning when they were kids – who goes on to become a pilot for the United States Navy in World War II and save numerous lives in combat (and is subsequently awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor).    George spends his life financially investing in the lives of others through the small Baily Bros. Building and Loan business in Bedford Falls that he inherits from his father, providing housing for those who would otherwise have none and being a father to his children.  Right from the start, George and his wife given of themselves – and their financial security – to keep the business open and tenants in their houses when Potter starts buying folks out.

Both in the DC Universe and ours, Superman has become an icon of hope and heroism.  While few outside of Bedford Falls ever knew who George Bailey was, within the confines of his small world he was “the richest man in town”.  Today, in our world, his fictional story is encountered by millions every Christmas season and is a reminder of both hope and the impact of a single life.

How does making the world small make your life wonderful?

Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

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