It's A Wonderful (Kingdom) Life

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I just watched It's a Wonderful Life for the most recent time of a number greater than I care to admit. Suffice it to say, I'm a fan. I have always been drawn to the redemptive message of the film, with the additional appeal of wondering what life would be like if I had not been born. This time, however, the Kingdom jumped out and grabbed me.

If you are unfamiliar with the story, the main character, George Bailey, faces a financial crisis at his business and contemplates suicide. His guardian angel intervenes and grants him a wish to never have been born. He then experiences how the lives of so many people change because he was not in their lives. He finally is restored to his life with a renewed sense of what really is important. The movie holds so many Kingdom moments that it would take a long discussion to touch them all. So I will address just the critical moment of George's restoration and the events that follow.

When George prays to be restored to the life he knows he is supposed to live, the angel acts on his prayer and restores him. From that moment forward George sees the world completely differently. He finds joy in everyone and everything --- even a loose newel post. The last scene shows the entire community joining to support George and celebrate their common joy in sharing life in good that prevails over evil.

When we pray to be saved and received by Christ into his Kingdom, we are blessed with the capability of seeing and experiencing life about us as we were born to see it. Just as George reveled in the simplest things of his new life, we too can find Kingdom joy in small things and experiences all about us, if we surrender to Christ and ask him to show us. George's greatest joy comes from seeing his family and his community in a way he could not have imagined through eyes newly opened to that life. We can experience, and are intended to experience, similar joy through life in the community of Christians, otherwise known as the Kingdom. That can happen, however, only if we regularly seek out, worship with, and actively participate with other Christians.

The Kingdom of God is not a passive thing. We must first surrender to it, then experience it most often through relationships. You symbolically hold the Kingdom each time your grasp the hand of another in the love of Christ. If you have not yet experienced life in the Kingdom, do as George did and pray to be restored to the life you were intended to live. You will find it's a wonderful Kingdom life.

Merry Christmas! Happy New year and life in God's Kingdom!

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