I have to admit I love the schmaltzy movies that are on this time of year. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a particular favourite. From it we learn the influence one person has on the community, and the world. The world is a much poorer place without the good hearted George Bailey. Likewise, “A Christmas Carol” illustrates the influence of one life poorly lived. Mr. Scrooge was in danger of leaving the world a much poorer place unless he changes his ways.
I meet people all the time who are looking for significance in life, and I realise that significance is not something we acquire, like so many Christmas gifts. It is ours already through God’s design. We, quite simply, affect others! This is built in by our Creator.
Last week I opined a bit about the Incarnation and, as it is the season, I continue with these thoughts. Jesus pitched his tent among us (moved into the neighbourhood) and “we beheld His glory.” This was what Philippians 2 describes, Jesus’ descent into greatness. This one life lived well before the Father has an incalculable influence on the world and eternity.
I don’t want to be like Scrooge (at least in the first part of the movie) and I don’t even want to be like George (a mostly admirable character). No I want to be like Jesus! His humility is, I think, a key quality to emulate. He humbled himself to becoming a single cell in a virgin’s womb, to be laid in a manger wrapped in cloths, and on and on the humility goes.
I believe that it is in this kind of humility that we should live and that not despite but because of humility we have great significance.
Most days I get to spend a few moments with R. He was a successful architect who developed a debilitating mental illness. He suffers from other health issues. R. is the most generous guy I know. He is always quietly helping others. He is one of my greatest encouragers. His is a difficult life well lived.
My Christmas prayer for each of us is that we receive the gift of humility and so follow Jesus example of descent into greatness. May the humble birth of “the Word made flesh” be our model and inspiration so that we too may live lives of true significance.