Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's a Wonderful Life, Isn't It?

What grace we are given to live each day, to touch others’ lives, and to be touched by the lives of those around us. The Christmas season is always a time of reflection for me. How did I make a difference in the lives of my family, my friends, or even of strangers whose paths have crossed with mine? Did I help them along in their journey through life or did I hinder their growth in some way?
I have always been a very traditional person. I treasure the values and the truths instilled in me since childhood. I love the traditional candlelight services at Church on Christmas Eve, spending the holidays with family and friends, and I even take special pleasure in giving and receiving gifts. Yet, in the midst of celebration, I often wonder why and how my life is important in the grand scheme of God’s plan.  
There have been numerous books written and movies made that help the lead character examine how the world would be different if they had not been a part of it. Of course, one of my very favorites is Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life”. To some this movie is slow, outdated, a good film to fall asleep to, or to poke fun at. Although for me, this movie seeks to help us all understand how the smallest kindness or the least likely encounter can truly change another person’s life.
We are given but a short span of time to carry out God’s plan .We live our lives each day taking it for granted that we will still be around the next day, the next moment, the next second. This is the way we should live our lives, not in fear of death, but in pursuit of life and of life everlasting. I can think back through the many relationships and friendships I’ve built in my life, and know that not only have I impacted their lives, but they have also left their imprint upon mine. Some moments I would love to be able to go back and “do over”. There are words I’ve regretted saying and words I’ve regretted not saying. Sometimes a chance to share only comes around once, and then is forever gone.
Each day we are offered opportunities to change lives, to show the love of Christ to others, and to give of ourselves. Should we accost each person we meet and try to force our beliefs upon them? Would this make a difference or would it scare others away? If we follow in the footsteps of Christ, we can see the pattern his life took. He gave freely of himself each day. His love was not overt, not pushy, but through simple acts of kindness he drew multitudes to their knees. Christ performed many miracles in his short reign on Earth, but to me it was his honesty, his kindness, his spirit of love that drew his disciples to follow him.
I believe in miracles. I believe they happen every moment. I believe my very existence is a miracle of grace. Through this grace I too must offer God’s love to those around me. It might be a mere smile or even opening a door for someone. At times, it might be redirecting someone’s footsteps back along the path of righteousness.
I am not a prophet, I am most definitely not a perfect person, I am merely a small breath of God’s love that exists in his world. And though I strive to follow in his footsteps, I often stumble. Yet, as I reflect back over my “wonderful life” I realize that even through many times of trouble and many times of joy, it is how I cope with each event that reflects to the world the person I am in Christ. As I travel through each day of my life I can offer my friends and family the love which lives within me through Christ. To those lives mine gently brushes, I can offer small acts of kindness to share a little glow of Christ’s love with them.
And so, as my ramble concludes, I offer these simple yet powerful words as my Christmas gift to you.
New International Version (©1984)
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Susan for such a wonderful Christmas gift. Your words are very meaningful to me and I treasure what you have to share with others. :)