I love that old Jimmy Stewart movie, It’s A Wonderful Life. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without that elderly angel, Clarence, giving George Bailey a glimpse into what life would have been like without him. I believe that movie became a classic because we all want to put ourselves into George’s place just for a little while and see if our life has made any kind of significant difference. What I don’t understand is why the movie always plays at Christmas. Sure, I know the closing scene is around the Christmas tree, but I think it should be a Thanksgiving movie. After all, George has finally learned to be thankful for the life he’s been given and to be confident in his purpose.
It doesn’t matter if we are bankers like George, or road builders, teachers, architects, insurance salesmen, students or stay-at-home moms, we all need a heart that connects with others to complete the true mission God has placed before us. This Thanksgiving I want to learn to be more of a “Romans 12 Christian”. I want to be more thankful and become someone for whom others will be thankful. What’s a “Romans 12 Christian” you ask? Read on.
“In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:6-18, NLT)
Let’s start this holiday season off right by promising to stay focused on people instead of things. Don’t be like George Bailey and dwell on things you can’t change. Instead, let’s set our minds on things above. Let’s be a blessing instead of wanting to be blessed – by doing that we actually get both. God is great. God is good. Let us give thanks!
Is that a bell I hear ringing?