It is probably one of the most endearing and iconic images of Christmas cinematic history. I can see it in my mind; so can you.
Here is teary-eyed George Bailey, played by the beloved Jimmy Stewart. He is exhausted but happy, standing with his family beside a Christmas tree amidst a horde of dear friends. One by one his pals come forward, sacrificially giving of their treasure to help him meet his debt.
I am reminded of this movie today in light of some exciting news that I’d like to share with you.
Just today, I received word that two more incredibly generous friends of Focus on the Family have pledged matching gifts of $500,000 and $300,000, respectively. This brings our total matching amount to $2,000,000! This means that if you’re able to make a contribution today, your gift will be doubled and the help to families will go twice as far as it usually does.
This is the first time in the history of Focus that we’ve had the privilege of offering a matching gift program. We were humbled when two long-time donors first came forward to pledge $500,000 each. Shortly thereafter, another friend pledged $200,000. And today, two more generously stepped forward.
All five of these friends pledged their treasure because they believe in the direction, work and effectiveness of this ministry. They are giving because they hope their gifts will encourage others to give as well. Thousands of our friends have already risen to the challenge in helping to meet this match. We are so grateful to every one of them.
Getting back to the film, would it surprise you if I suggested there are some parallels that apply to the work of this organization?
First, I think we love the movie because we love not just a good story that entertains, but also a story that redeems. In the end of the movie, George is saved; and so are we – but only by and because of the shed blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the cornerstone of this ministry. The Lord doesn’t need us; we need Him.
Second, at some point, every one of us has probably wondered, if only fleetingly, what the character of George Bailey articulated on that cold and snowy Christmas Eve:
What if I had never been born? Is the world better off with me in it? Am I really making a difference?
The encouraging response to our matching gift opportunity confirms that many of you want to make a tremendous difference in the lives of hurting and struggling families. When you support the work of this ministry, you are doing just that, by allowing us to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.
Finally, I think we’re drawn to George Bailey because we like to be reminded of what it took all of the movie for him to learn:
No man is poor who has friends.
Here at Focus on the Family, our great treasure is not simply the generosity of our donors, but rather the heart and soul of our friends – and the friends we help because of the friends who invest in our work.
Thank you, and Merry Christmas!