Summary: Life is difficult. Christmas can bring crisis for many. But it can still be wonderful because God came in Jesus to be with me.
Intro: Have you ever felt you might be better off dead than alive? The struggles of life seem to surmount the beauties of life and you begin to wonder “what’s the point?” That’s what happened to Geoge Bailey in the classic film It’s a wonderful Life.
In this scene your about to see, George, who owns the only business in town the rich villian Mr Potter hasn’t over taken, goes in desparation to Mr. Potter for help. Uncle Billy has lost their bank deposit, which unbeknownst to him, Mr Potter found and kept. George takes responsibility and now he frantically needs a loan, from the last man he’d ever really want to ask.
show clip: 1:32:00 ...1:35:00 (starts with George at Potters desk, ends with him walking out in a daze. or through 1:36:12 “Show me the way, God. I’m at the end of my rope.”)
George here has hit bottom. The unfairness of it all is overwhelming.
George didn’t lose the money. Uncle Billy did.
George didn’t use people. He even gave up his honeymoon money at one point, to help other people.
Mr. Potter, on the other hand, uses everyone and now is putting the screws to George in his plight, no less. Mr Potter has George’s money, for goodness sake! It certainly doesn’t seem like it’s a wonderful life.
If you know the story, you know that this is where George decided to take his own life. But lets stop and think about your story, and mine.
1. Life is difficult, but ...
A. Life is difficult. You and I know it to be true. Christmas can be difficult. Even life in which a person strives diligently to be godly, helpful, and close to God includes difficulty.
God walked and talked with Adam and Eve. After sin came in their hearts, God was still God, but life was difficult.
Abraham was the only person in scripture specifically called God’s friend. Hand picked to bring God’s blessing into the world. Still, life was difficult. He waited 25 years for the promised child of his to be born. (He was 100)
Moses, raised in a palace! Riding stretch camels! But you know the story of the wilderness. Deliverence from Egypt, but lots of hot sand. Life is difficult, but....
B. And I’m just going to guess that maybe you & I could share a story or two about difficulty. We’ve been at the end of our rope.
Sometimes it’s because of the mud of evils we’ve gotten ourselves into.
You’re so distant from your spouse that even the thought of going out on a date together seems, well, awkward! (Which, we’d have to agree, is a pretty place for a marriage to be.)
Or maybe you’ve spent every penny you’ve got and not really on worthwhile things. Now you can’t make ends meet and the collectors are calling. And you can’t calm your stomach.
Could be that in a fit of anger you called your best friend a really unmentionable name. Now you never talk anymore. Life is difficult, ...but...
Sometimes it’s because of circumstances beyond our control.
Your house is always empty. Dad & Mom are pretty much gone and you roam the halls with questions echoing in your head. “Where is everyone. Am I important?
You’ve moved to a new place. Every street is unfamiliar. You don’t know where to find spagetti sauce in the grocery store. You don’t know who to call when the car won’t start. There’s busyness and bustling all around you, but you feel alone.
It’s winter, it’s colder, several months of gray skies, scraping ice, shoveling snow, shorter days, longer nights. Sometimes we call it the winter blahs, the winter blues. This can even lead to depression–you might find yourself becoming restless, lethargic, cranky, moody, down in the dumps. I’m told psychologists even have a name for this feeling--Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.
How can it be wonderful?...Life is difficult. but...
Sometimes it’s because of tragedy.
The rise of the computer age changed things and and nobody wants to buy encyclopedias (or the kind of cars you make, or any number of products) anymore -so you go out of business.
The rise of skin cancer claims the life of your child, a young mother herself. As a young mother she leaves behind a husband and 2 kids, who because of their grief, sometimes feel like dying themselves.
Just because it’s the holiday season, Advent, or Christmas, doesn’t mean we find all of life to be joyful and wonderful. In the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life, this is the way George Bailey was feeling.
In fact, often the expectation of celebrating, family, joyful songs, giving –all serves to accent for some of us that we don’t have all that. We have difficulties. But...