10 days ago I attended Ignition Theatre's production of It's a Wonderful Life at The Matchbox in Red Deer. The story is presented as a radio drama so the set is sparse and many of the 16 actors, one of whom is my mother, play several characters. The acting is fantastic and special mention must go to Ryan Mattila who plays an extraordinary, earnest and discouraged George Bailey.
What struck me about the play the most was the overtly Christian message despite the fact that George Bailey is not a church-going man and the wonky expression of the government and behaviour of angels. A principal import is that of common grace - the idea that there is goodness in all of creation and God continues to work miracles, righteousness and grace through humanity, despite human depravity. But even more was communicated; one of Clarence the angel's lines is “The Kingdom of Heaven is spread about the Earth, but man doesn’t see it.” This infers God's direct intervention in the world through His people.
The play by nature is very melodramatic - during a bank run, George has to forego his honeymoon and use his savings to pacify the mob, George saves his brother from drowning, George save both the reputation of a pharmacist and the life of a client, George yields his college tuition money to his brother so he can keep the Building and Loan going, etc. But I think it lovingly communicates George's life as a sum of his sacrifices and good works just as each of our lives will be summed up as well.