Niagara Gazette — No matter how many times I read and watch them, almost always with loved ones, sometimes all alone, movies like “Miracle on 34th Street,” “Holiday Inn, White Christmas,” “A Christmas Carol,” “White Christmas” and “Meet Me in St. Louis” and great reading like Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” always lift my spirits and put me in the right mood at Christmas time.
Leading up to the big day, one of my personal favorite Christmas traditions, besides gift shopping for unique presents at little locally owned and operated shoppes, cooking, eating and sharing special treats from around the world, and reconnecting with long-lost friends and family, is to gorge myself on classic holiday stories, especially Christmas-themed movies and, of course, singing and playing as many of those joyful Christmas songs as possible; music makes almost everything clearer, if not better, doesn’t it?
This year is no different except that watching the memorial celebration of Nelson Mandela’s amazing life reminded me of one of the worlds most appreciated, my number one favorite Christmas movie of all time, Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey.
No, Bailey and Mandela have little in common, but the theme, based on writer Phillip Van Doren Stern’s 1939 short story, “The Greatest Gift” permeates Mandela’s reality as Bailey learns, with the help of his appointed guardian angel, Clarence Odbody what life in Bedford Falls would have been like without him.
Searching the 500 cable and internet television channels for the film during the wee hours yesterday, instead of the movie, I came across and began to watch live broadcast coverage of the celebration of Mandela’s 95 year-long life; it was powerfully inspiring to say the least, keeping me up and awake all night long.
Soulful, yet joyous music and the constant energetic bouncing of nearly 95,000 rainbow hued people including at least 90 world leaders filled the FNB Soccer Stadium.