“I want to live again, I want to live again,” George Bailey cried out as he stood on the snow-covered bridge in Bedford Falls, the river dark and swirling below. With the help of Clarence Oddbody, Angel Second Class, George had discovered, to his horror, what life would have been like had he never been born.
No doubt you recognize that’s the pivotal scene of the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which makes its annual appearance on television this time of year (and will be showing tomorrow night, in fact). Of all the Christmas classics, I would have to say that one is my favorite. Clarence the angel sums up the compelling theme of the movie so well in his words: “Each man’s life touches so many other lives, and when he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole.”
With that in mind, I asked our Wednesday night small group a question last week, and I’ll ask it again here on this Christmas Eve eve. What if Jesus had never been born? What difference would it have made in history or in our daily lives if a Bethlehem stable had not served as a makeshift delivery room for the promised Christ-child a little more than 2,000 years ago?
Dr. D. James Kennedy wrote a book with that very title–“What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?”–several years back, in which he gave persuasive evidence that people inspired by Jesus are responsible for everything from mass education, modern science, representative democracy, the elevation of women, the end of slavery, respect for life, and the creation of universities and hospitals. “Jesus Christ, the greatest man who ever lived, has changed virtually every aspect of human life–and most people don’t know it.” the author asserted. His truly was a wonderful life!
I doubt anyone would argue that the birth and life of Christ has not had a radical impact on world history. But my question for you today gets a little more personal.
What difference does His birth (and life, and death on the cross, and resurrection) make in your daily life? Is the promised “peace on earth” the angels sang about evident in your life, even in this stressed-out season? Does the hope of the coming of the promised Messiah sustain you in difficult times? Do the “glad tidings of great joy for all the people” show in the way you live your life?
If we celebrate only the birth and life of a historical figure from the first century without realizing His impact on our daily lives personally in the 21st century, then I believe we have missed the meaning of Christmas. He came to give us life, and peace, and hope and “great joy,” not just in December but all the year round. I hope and pray, especially this holiday season, you have experienced those gifts of Christmas He came to bring.
So, from my family to yours, may you have a most blessed Christmas. I hope to see you Sunday at Shelby Crossings as we gather in His name to worship our Savior and King.