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.”
And so it was that last night Lynda and I with our son, Nathan, and all set up by our precious elder granddaughter, Hannah, and her sweet boyfriend, John, that we watched it once again.
Timeless. Priceless. Hopeful. My favorite of all time.
By the time the closing scene rolled 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 passed up college and dreams to be an engineer building bridges and other structures around the world. Instead he stayed in Bedford Falls, so he could watch over the old Bailey Building and Loan, never reaching his hoped-for potential-or so he thought. Yet as the movie unfolds, we see that through his seemingly simple life, George achieves his created potential and purpose, through the many changed many lives for good he impacted.
In the 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 saw 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 or stuff, 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 in his life who truly mattered, he finally realized what was truly important-and he had done it throughout his life.
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, and surrounded by people and things which really matter-that we are the richest people in town? Then why do things get us down? Why do we allow temporary setbacks to paint the landscape of our future? Why do we still reach for the “stuff” and things of the world?
Christmas is here reminding us 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 unto you! Do you see that? Read it again-go ahead…”For unto you is born….a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
For you! And for me!
And not only do we have a Savior-whose birth we celebrate again tomorrow-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 within 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 which may bring us low, or cause us to drop our heads in despair, or 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, yet to meet, which 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-with Him-for today, tomorrow and every day before you.
In His Name–Scott