Celebrating Christmas with family and friends finds us tearing open gifts.
Those items that were specifically chosen, carefully wrapped, and lovingly given.
Of all those gifts I’m sure there were many gifts that “worked,”
but I’m sure there were also some gifts that didn’t “work.”
Those gifts that didn’t “work,” hopefully weren’t given with that intention. There could be many reasons why…
The giver may not have been aware of the fact that the gift was actually broken, it may not have been what they expected it to be, or the gift was the wrong size, color, etc…
The movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is about angels in heaven who hear the prayers of many people praying for a man who is ready to end his life. George Bailey himself prays a prayer of desperation before he considers jumping off the bridge on Christmas Eve.
The angels came up with an idea of a gift to give to George that they hoped will “work.”
The head angel then told Clarence, the angel who would be sent to give George this gift, the story of George Bailey’s life.
As the story of George’s life was told it showed all he went through in the seasons of life and how he responded to the different situations he faced.
Then one day when George’s uncle Billy made a mistake at the bank and money from the Bailey Savings and Loan fell into the hands of Mr. Potter, George faced hopelessness.
With nothing he could do to save his business, his family, or himself, George saw his death and the life insurance policy for his family as the only answer.
So, perched on the side of a bridge on a snowy Christmas Eve, George was ready to jump.
That was when the angel came from heaven with the gift that he hoped would “work.”
(I don’t want to be a spoiler by telling the rest of the story…it is a very old movie, but if you haven’t seen it, please stop reading this and go and watch it before you read the rest.)
The angel, Clarence, brought George the gift of seeing his life as if he was never born.
The angel showed George how things would be in the lives of his friends and family if he had never been born. At first George didn’t understand the gift as the angel took him to “see” people and places as they would have been if he wasn’t there, but as his gift continued to unfold George came to the place where he realized the significance of his life and truly wanted to live again.
The gift “worked.”
Though this movie isn’t doctrinally correct, there are so many spiritual lessons I draw from it.
I’m reminded of the significance of my prayers. Heaven hears my prayers and when I pray I believe there are plans of sending gifts to those who I pray for. Gifts sent by God that are intended to “work” for those who need help. They may not be understood at first, but they are intended to “work” by showing what is really important and by providing what is really needed.
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” Psalm 46:1
I’m reminded of the wonderful gift of life I have been given and of the significance of my life. I realize that my choices and decisions don’t only affect me, and I’m reminded of the bigger picture, that I have the choice to live life to the fullest and to make a difference for the good in the lives of those around me.
Like the Proverbs 31 woman…
“Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.”
“Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:
“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.” Proverbs 31:10-12, 28-31
But though there are many lessons to be learned from this movie, it falls short of God’s truth…
No matter how good a life we live, no matter how many good choices we make, no matter how many lives we touch for the good, without Jesus it has no meaning, no true significance, no eternal value.
I’m reminded of the Wonderful Life God intends for us through His greatest Gifts…
That life is a precious gift from God
Life – “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Psalm 139:13-16
and, that life is meant to be lived knowing God through His gift of Jesus!
Jesus – “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17
We were created with significance for significance!
God’s Gifts always “work.” His precious gift of life and the gift of His Son, Jesus, are perfectly tailored for you and for the purpose He has for you. His gift of life fully lived – knowing and believing in Jesus – will bring meaning and significance to your life; you will not despair when an evil plan is formed against you, you will find hope to overcome every situation, you will be provided with everything you need, and you will be surrounded with much love and great joy!
“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a great movie, it is part of my Christmas traditions, and I’m glad for the lessons I’ve learned from it.
But it falls short of the “Wonderful Life” that is found in the God’s Greatest Gift of Christmas!
The gift of eternal life through believing in Jesus not only “works,” but brings a Wonderful Life, forever!