And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. Luke 2:12
One evening, when I was in high school, I went over to a friend’s house. It was around Christmas time and his family was watching a black and white movie. I couldn’t help but think, “Who in the world would watch a black and white movie? This is going to be so boring!”
I sat down anyway and watched the movie with my friend’s family. The more I watched, the more I was interested by the movie. It was the movie It’s A Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart and Donna Reed. In some families, watching this movie has become a part of their Christmastime tradition.
For those of you who have not seen the movie I will give a short summary: Throughout his life, the main character (George Bailey) does things for others. He is constantly helping his family, friends, and people down on their luck. One example is that he lets his brother go to college with his money instead of going himself.
Through some mishap, not of his own doing, his business is short a large amount of money forcing him to consider foreclosure. George becomes fed up with life and is convinced that all that he has done throughout his life is a failure. He wishes he had never been born.
Through the supposed act of an angel George Bailey gets to see what everyone’s life in town would be like had he not been born. He then is again put back into the real world and his friends come to his rescue and provide the money he needs for his business. He found out his life was important and wonderful because of love from family and friends.
Why tell you all this? Because this is the time of year we get caught up in Christmas lists. The world is telling us to buy, buy, buy. We are bombarded with messages that say you will not be satisfied with your life if we don’t have a cell phone, the right clothes, or a good sound system in your car.The world tells us we need to have “stuff” and lots of it.
In the movie, George Bailey found out that there is more to life than money and travel. He found family and friends and the good we do for others are more important. These are the things that bring satisfaction in life. They are what makes for “a wonderful life.” George Bailey found out that we do have an impact on others lives.
While there is a heavy overtone of religion in the movie there is something missing in it: Jesus! While He is mentioned in the movie, the movie misses the entire point of Christmas. The movie glorifies Christmas and religion but forgets the purpose of both by forgetting about the mission of Christ.
We don’t celebrate Christmas just for the sake that Jesus came to the world but with understanding of His death and resurrection. We celebrate Christmas for the new life we have in Christ now and forever. Jesus came so we wouldn’t be satisfied with the things of this world but look to Him for a new home. When we have Jesus we can be satisfied but without Him we can never be satisfied.
Christ’s surroundings at birth definitely wouldn’t satisfy an earthly prince’s family. But God the Father placed the Prince of Peace in that manger. Jesus, the son of God, was born in a stable where animals live and Jesus was satisfied with that because He knew it was God’s plan for Him.
Are you satisfied with where God has placed you? Will you be satisfied with your Christmas presents?
It is a wonderful life we have. God made us with a purpose to glorify Him and to enjoy Him. If you think of how the Lord has blessed you and tried to count the ways He has done so, you would never be able to stop counting. But your life can only be wonderful if you have Jesus in it. Otherwise you will just be unsatisfied with what you have.
Is your life wonderful? Or should I say, do you know Christ?
For Further Study: Being content or satisfied is something most of us struggle with. The temptation of not being satisfied with what God has given us or the situation He has placed us in, strikes teens as well as adults. Over the next week spend time reading the following verses. Read them over a few times, thinking about what the words mean and how the words apply to you. Close by praying for forgiveness in the sin of dissatisfaction and strength to be satisfied in all things. On Christmas Eve I would encourage you to read Luke 2:1–20 as a reminder of this study and to give praise to God for His Son Who came and died so sinner’s could live!
Day 1: I Timothy 6:6–10 Day 2: Matthew 6:19–24 Day 3: Proverbs 15:16–17; 17:1; 23:4–5 Day 4: Proverbs 16:16–17; 22:1; 30:8–9 Day 5: Luke 9:46–48; John 13:1–17 Day 6: Luke 12:13–21 Day 7: Matthew 6:25–34
Mr. Dave Vander Meer is the Youth director of Cornerstone United Reformed Church in Hudsonville, Michigan.