Summary: If Christmas never happened we would never fully understand God and his love for us. Evangelistic message for Christmas Eve.
I’m guessing most of you have seen the classic Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. In the movie, Stewart plays George Bailey who has inherited the Bailey Building and Loan, and survives Black Tuesday in October 1929. Later his absentminded uncle misplaces $8000 and George knows he will probably go to jail. On a snowy night he heads out in desperation, uncertain about what to do, and he comes to the bridge and considers committing suicide wishing he had never been born. Of course George is saved by Clarence Oddbody who we later discover is an angel, and he grants George’s request. He shows George what the world would have looked like had he never been born. Through the rest of the movie we discover that George’s life has made a significant impact on his family, his friends, his community, and had he never been born, other people’s lives would have been worse off. The movie helps us realize the impact one person can make on those around us whether it is for good or for bad.
It got me to thinking about the Christmas story, and posing the question, what if Jesus was never born? What if the first Christmas never happened? No virgin birth. No baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. No shepherds receiving angelic news of the Christ child, and therefore no trip to the stable in Bethlehem. No wise men making a long journey from the East following a star in order to give gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. What kind of an impact has Jesus made on others over the last 2000 years? And more specifically what impact has Jesus made in our lives, is our life any different because Jesus was born?
I believe Jesus has made an incredible impact on the world, it’s estimated there are between 1 and 2 billion Christians on the planet, if Jesus hadn’t come we wouldn’t we be here tonight. If I were a historian I could probably take you back through the last 2000 years to demonstrate the difference Christ and his Christian followers have made in the world. I could talk about how world poverty has been stemmed because of non-profit organizations begun by Christians such as Red Cross and Salvation Army. Or how the Christian faith has held off the moral decay of nations. In America the first colleges were all begun by Christians. But tonight I want to get a little more closer to home because Jesus’ disciple John seemed to think Jesus made a significant difference and so we are going to look at three things you or I would never have known or experienced if Jesus had never been born.
If Jesus had never been born:
1. We wouldn’t know exactly what God is like
NIV John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
These verses tells us one of the most amazing truths that has ever happened. God came to our little world and became one of us. God came in the flesh as the Son of God, who we know as Jesus. As Billy Graham said, “If I want to know what God is like, I look at Jesus.” “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15, NLT).”
Jesus cleared up faulty images that people have about God. For example: In Jesus’ day non-Jews had messed up views of God. They didn’t even believe there was one Creator God, they believed in multiple gods and goddesses (Zeus, Aphrodite) who they believed were simply more powerful version of themselves, which meant they were prideful, deceitful, full of lust, vengeful, . It’s a pretty sad situation if the god or goddess you worship is morally just as bad as we are. Today there are some pretty messed up claims about God too. There are people like Shirley McLain, who believes she is god, I am god, you are god, we are all god. If you want to see God, look at each other. Personally, I find this pretty discouraging to think myself or Shirley McLain is God, if this is true I think we’re in trouble. People who are into Star Wars theology think God is some kind of force or energy. Again pretty disappointing if you ask me.
Maybe you have image of what God is like. God is like a judgmental Father waiting for you to mess up so he can punish you. God is like Santa Claus who wants to grant your every wish, just pray and God will do everything you want, as long as you’ve been a good boy or girl. God is like a gentle old grandfather who loves everybody and doesn’t really care what we do. God is some remote being out there somewhere on the edge of the universe somewhere, who really doesn’t care about us very much. Like Bette Midler sings, “God is watching us from a distance.” There are lot of images people have about what God is like.