Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2: 10-14 (KJV)

It is as definite for me as Christmas itself. Every year—without fail. And always sometime before all the promise of Christmas morning breaks afresh and anew in our hearts. Making certain to watch the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

This year I watched it one evening two days before Christmas with some dear friends—his bride had seen it before, but he had never seen the movie from beginning to end. And then I watched it again on Christmas Eve.

Timeless. Priceless. Hopeful.

By the time the closing scene rolls around, and despite having seen the classic at least a hundred times before, tears have already welled up in my eyes and in the eyes of those around me. The enduring message of the sacredness and value of our individual lives is made clear through the troubles and triumphs of the life of George Bailey and the old Bailey Building and Loan he begrudgingly assumed stewardship over at his father’s passing.

In assuming that role, George gave up the college monies he saved so that his younger brother Harry could go, giving up his dreams of traveling as an engineer building bridges and other structures around the world. George instead never left his home in Bedford Falls, so he could watch over the old Bailey Building and Loan, never reaching his hoped-for potential—or so he thought. Never achieving the riches of fame and fortune of which he had dreamed since boyhood—or so he thought. Yet as the movie unfolds, the viewer sees that through his seemingly simple life, George had changed many lives for good around him, and that George had indeed reached his full potential and beyond.

In that closing scene, George’s younger brother Harry—a war hero whose life was saved as a boy by George—had just learned of the recent money troubles of the Building and Loan and flew home through a snowstorm to be with George and his family. When he arrived, he was not really surprised to see people from all around town now gathering to share their monies and lives to help out their friend George Bailey, the one who had through the years helped each one of them.

Harry lifts a glass to toast his big brother and offers the words:

To my big brother, George, the richest man in town!”

There it is—a simple humble man, not at all wealthy in terms of money, yet characterized as the richest man in town. It took the events laid out in the movie leading to that moment for George to see it—but he finally did. Standing there in his home, surrounded by family and the other people and things of his life that truly mattered, he finally felt that indeed he was the richest man in town.

What about you and me? Aren’t we in the same position as George Bailey every day? Couldn’t it also be said about us—that no matter what we’re going through, no matter our “status” in the meaningless pecking orders of society—that we are the richest people in town? Here we are, surrounded in life by the people and things that really matter, and in some cases the memories of those whom we still hold dear—all reminders that we, too, are the richest people in town? Then why do things get us down? Why does the economy cause us to see gloom, rather than sunshine, in our tomorrows? Why do we allow temporary setbacks to paint the landscape of our future? Why do we still believe that the “stuff” and things of the world are still worth our reach?

We have just come through another Christmas celebration and have been reminded yet again of a magnificent moment which occurred for you and for me as spoken by the Angel and as recorded in the Gospel of Luke:

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

Stop right there for a minute. For you! Do you see that? Read it again—go ahead…“For unto you….a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

For you! And for me!

And not only do we have a Savior—whose birth we just celebrated again—but we also have people and things in our lives which matter. People who love and care for us. People who need us and look up to us. People—in whatever number and relationship—who look to us, who listen to us and whose lives are better because we are here and because our lives have been woven with theirs, all as a part of God’s eternal plan.

I don’t know what the world will throw before us in the days, weeks and months ahead in an attempt to bring us low, to cause us to drop our heads in despair, to put a cloud over our vision of the future God has in mind for us.

But I do know that we have a Savior. I do know that we have people who love and care for us, people who need us, people whose lives have been made better and those whose lives will be made better because of us.

And for all of that, we should always know that each of us is indeed “the richest person in town.”

Claim that for today, tomorrow and every day before you.

In His Name—Scott

Copyright 2011. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.