Ok, I must admit that of all the Christmas movies my children enjoying watching each year, there’s one nostalgic film that is hard for me to sit through. Not because it’s a poorly made movie. It’s very well done and has a great story line with a great cast. The movie just gets a little too close to home for me, as it follows a character who has the same tendency I do, and just maybe you do as well.
The famous film is called “It’s a Wonderful Life”, and it follows a man name George Bailey as he clearly is struggling to believe that his life is indeed wonderful. He’s looking back at his life and all the struggles that have happened and is about ready to end it all. The rest of the movie follows an angel named Clarence Odbody, Angel 2nd Class, as he is assigned to help George see life differently. As George goes on this journey with Clarence, he begins to see all the past challenges and heartache through a very different lens. By the end of the movie, he can see his present situation for what it is. That life is indeed wonderful.
Instead of jumping off the bridge and ending his life, he instead runs back to his family and friends with a renewed enthusiasm. The movie concludes with George finding a copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and reading this inscription from his guarding angel: "Dear George: Remember no man is a failure who has friends. P.S. Thanks for the wings! Love, Clarence." A bell on the Christmas tree rings, and his daughter, remembers aloud that it means an angel has just earned his wings. George realizes that he has had a wonderful life and the movie comes to a wonderful end.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, while this might make a great holiday film, this is not what makes our life wonderful. We have been given so much more than a copy of Tom Sawyer and a bumbling guardian angel. As you move into this month of Christmas celebration, let me remind you what enables us to truly believe that “It’s A Wonderful Life”!
Let’s start with Zechariah and Elizabeth in Luke 1. As they discovered from a true angel sent from God, that “It’s NOW a wonderful life, and His name would be John!” And their son would have the amazing challenge and privilege of preparing the way for The Most Wonderful Life!
The angel Gabriel gave these fascinating facts about the wonderful life that John would be born into:
- He will be a joy and delight to you as his parents
- Many will rejoice because of his birth
- He will be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth
- He will bring back many Israelites to the Lord
- He will turn the hearts of fathers
- He will turn the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous
The people of the 1st century were given the same message that we are given in the 21st century by the wonderful life of John. If we can’t accept John’s message of repentance, then our heart won’t be ready for the message of Jesus. John would give his life passionately challenging the people of that time with a message we need to hear today: “Repent from trying to be king, so you can receive THE King!
Then we see an angel come and give the life-altering message to Joseph and Mary that “It’s NOW a wonderful Life…. And His name would be Jesus!
For Mary the message was literally, “It’s NOW a wonderful life…He’s in your womb!” Can you imagine that ladies? And then Joseph was given a message, “It’s NOW a Wonderful Life, but it’s not your son, it’s God’s Son!” His role as an earthly father would be to care for The Wonderful Life of Jesus Himself! A boy that wasn’t from his flesh, but one that would save his very soul.
A life that would grow up to give His Wonderful Life for ours so we wouldn’t have to jump off the bridge of depression and be destroyed by the challenges of earthly life today. To instead have our life forever changed as we encounter The Most Wonderful Life of Jesus.
The Shepherds soon discovered “It’s NOW a wonderful life…He is Christ the Lord! They were visited not by just one angel, but by a heavenly host of them singing the wonderful message: “A Savior has brought eternal peace for all people!
That’s why we can journey through our life, no matter how challenging the circumstances we might face today. Let me leave you with just three things to remember this month!
It’s Now A Wonderful Life because:
- An Eternal King came to earth!
- An eternal kingdom is now established!
- An eternal kingdom mindset can now provide us with endless joy!
Don’t give into the proud mindset of our day that says, “When life doesn’t feel good, God must not be good!” Instead, follow in the steps of the humble servant Mary who in essence said, “God alone is good, even when life doesn’t feel good!”
IT’s Now a Wonderful Life…When I learn to see His eternal promises as more precious than any earthly pleasure! As we build our life on that Truth, our eyes will be opened, and our courage will be renewed to see that “It truly is a Wonderful Life- and His Name is Jesus!