Much news of today consists of reminders of the cargo ships anchored off of our shores and all of the shipping containers, already unloaded, waiting for delivery. There they sit with merchandize not available for the stocking of shelves.
There is a holiday song that reminds us that “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Due to the aforementioned snafu of delayed shipments reporters stress that we are likely to not be able to enjoy a Merry Christmas due to the holdup of goods. Sad as the situation is portrayed, the actual sad part is that society has been led to believe that the joy of Christmas is found in the gifts we are able to purchase or receive. Seems we are being led to believe that it isn’t the most wonderful time of the year doesn’t it.
If you have not already planned to; I encourage you to pause and view the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Please take notice of the Christians lessons shown in this timeless classic that reminds us that it really is the most wonderful time. Consider your own life along with the actions and reactions of the characters.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers”. (Galatians 6:9-10) Who in the movie portrayed this basic Christian behavior? Was it Mr. Potter or George? What good deeds have you done recently? What good deeds could you accomplish in the future?
“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:3) Yes, the town rallied around George due to his good deeds for them but first of all they prayed for him. Their petitions for his well-being were heard in heaven and answered. “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people.” (1 Timothy 2:1)
Prayers for others are important but prayers for ourselves are also vital for our Christians journey. “ In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” (Romans 8:26)
When you pray what is your motivation? Do you pray for your will to be done or for God’s will? Those questions lead us to clarifying our thoughts concerning our actions and reactions to situations in our lives. Where in the movie do you identify examples of Godly living? Where in your life do you find the plan and purpose of God for your live being demonstrated?
Those who light the candles in an Advent Wreath, and those to whom this concept is new, might benefit by reflecting upon the identity of the weekly focus centered upon these candles. What is your Hope? What brings Peace into your life? Where do you find daily Joy? Love was given to you by our Heavenly Father. How do you pass that love on to others?
On Christmas Eve the lighting of the Christ Candle is a reminder of “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Emmanuel—God is with us—the wonder and miracle of God’s love for us that causes this to be the most wonderful time of all.
Keep Christ in Christmas not the contents of undeliverable faulty human promises. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus we are called to remember that, by His sacrifice for our salvation, He has made us rich beyond human measure. How have you been made rich by God and how are you sharing that richness with others?
As you watch the movie this year I encourage you to contemplate your answers to the questions I’ve given you along with others that God may bring to your thoughts. Celebrate Christmas by the presence of the most wonderful gift —Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!
The writer is retired having served Sidney First United Methodist Church and Ohio Living Dorothy Love.