Summary: If Jesus had not come, so many things would be different.
SERIES: CHRISTMAS CLASSICS
(adapted from a series from Southeast Christian Church)
“IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE”
We finish our Christmas series today based on classic Christmas films. One of the most classic of all is from 1946 called It’s a Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. In the movie, Stewart’s character George Bailey has dreamed since childhood of leaving his small hometown of Bedford Falls and seeing the world. But when his father dies, he’s forced to stick around to keep up the family business, Bailey Building and Loan, until his younger brother Harry can come back from college and take things over.
But things don’t go as planned. Harry finishes college and his career plans change course, and then Harry is soon called off to war where he becomes a war hero. George’s life becomes consumed with keeping this small business afloat. He marries his childhood sweetheart named Mary, and just as they’re leaving town on their exotic honeymoon, there comes a run on the bank, and it takes all of their travel money to keep the bank from going under.
Then, at midlife, George comes to the end of his rope. And to top it all off, his partner, his Uncle Billy, loses $8,000 on Christmas Eve, and George is threatened with scandal, disgrace, and even prison. That’s when George decides it would have been better if he had never been born. So, in a half-drunken stupor, he desperately prays to God.
God immediately answers his prayer by sending George’s guardian angel named Clarence Oddbody –Angel Second Class. Clarence is trying to earn his wings so, when George wishes that he had never been born, Clarence grants his wish. George gets to experience an enlightening evening, seeing what Bedford Falls would have been like if he had never been born. He finds out how incredibly different things would have turned out for, not only his loved ones, but the whole town, if he hadn’t been around.
Harry, his brother, would not have lived past childhood. Remember George saved him when he fell through the ice. And because Harry died as a child, then hundreds of soldiers would have died because Harry wouldn’t have been there to save them. Mr. Gower would have inadvertently poisoned a customer, spent twenty years in prison, and then come out of prison homeless. Mary would have died an old maid. Zuzu, his daughter, would never have been born. His Uncle Billy would have spent most of his life in an insane asylum. And Potter would have turned Bedford Falls into a den of gambling halls, girly shows and saloons. So, George realizes that his one life really did make a big difference.
The ripple effect of one person’s life is impossible to measure. After George sees how different things were, Clarence says to him: “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives, and when he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
That statement is so true about all of our lives. But no other life has impacted this world as much as that of Jesus Christ. What if Jesus had never been born? What kind of hole would be left? Would the world we live in be different?
What if this Friday wasn’t Christmas? Try to imagine that for a moment. What if the shepherds didn’t have their sleep interrupted by angels that night? And what if there was no star in the sky above Bethlehem? What if 2,000 years ago, that stable hadn’t served as a delivery room? Would the world be different? Would your life be different?
Almost of us are familiar with the events concerning Jesus’ birth as recorded in Matthew and Luke. Matthew’s account takes 31 verses and Luke’s account takes 74 verses. But this morning I want us to look together today at a passage that most folks don’t connect with Christmas.
Rev. 12:1-5 – “A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.
And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.”
In this passage, everything is not “calm and bright”. There was spiritual warfare the night that Jesus was born; a great war took place.