In the classic Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” protagonist George Bailey learns his value to the people who know him when an angel shows him what their lives would be like if George had never been born. George sees that his younger brother would have died as a child, his wife would never have married, and his uncle would be sent to a mental institution all because George wasn’t there to interact with them.
In just two days’ time, we celebrate the birth of Jesus; the Divine made man, come to earth to save us from death. Did you ever stop to think about what our lives would be like today if Jesus had not been born?
I can hear some of you saying that it often feels now as though God has forgotten us. There is war, famine, flooding, fire, and division among the races, religions, and genders. How much worse could it get? you say. Significantly worse, I would imagine. Because even in all this darkness, we can see little points of light if we look hard enough. The light shines from the people who left their warm, dry homes to help total strangers in another state recover from the loss of their homes. Light emanates from the firefighters who purchase holiday dinners for two dozen disadvantaged families in the neighborhood near their firehouse. The light surrounds a little boy forced from his home by the civil war in Syria who uses his blanket to cover a dog who had been hit by a car until transport to a veterinarian could arrive. These people, and so many others like them, reflect the goodness that comes from God. They will receive the heavenly reward promised to humankind by Jesus’ birth. If Jesus had not been born, we wouldn’t see this good, or have the promise of redemption. It would be a very dark world, indeed.
Just as George Bailey learns that he has had a significant impact on the lives of those around him, we learn that we can have a significant impact on the lives of others when we embrace the Jesus within us and respond to the Jesus within others. When we do, it truly is a wonderful life.