This Sunday, the Fourth Sunday in Advent, in addition to enjoying a very special morning of music from our Fifth Street Bells, we’ll be looking at the interesting connections to be found between the word, “life” — which is another favorite word of John’s — juxtaposed with the concept of life as we see it in that beloved Christmas classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.
In the first chapter of John we explore the notion of abundant life — and what that means in its scriptural context: “in him was life and his life was the light to all people.”
Moving a little deeper in to this idea, we see the direct tie between Jesus coming into the world and the abundance of life of which John speaks when Jesus says, “I have come so that they have life and have it abundantly.”
Then, in our Luke 12 reading, we discover that this abundance is not just about volume and quantity — but more about the quality of our life that gives it abundance. Jesus said, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” (verse 15)
So if in this light we see what abundant life is not, it begs the question:
What IS abundant life?
What DOES an abundant life consist of?
Turning the corner to this week’s Reel Christmas selection, It’s a Wonderful Life, our attention is directed to the kind of abundance to be found in relationships with other people — and in the difference our life can and does make in the lives of others around us. Abundance in this context is much more than how much we can accumulate in terms of possessions and wealth. In the movie, Mr. Potter and George Bailey reflect this stark contrast. For Potter, life is about one’s possessions and how much you can get. For George Bailey, however, life is about relationships and making your community a better place.
This week, as you follow the clips and reflections in our Advent Devotional, I invite you to also consider these questions:
If you never existed, what would your world and community be like?
What difference did Jesus’ coming make? How did the life he lived and the life he brings — and wants us to have — make a difference to the world?
In the absence of that, what would the world be like?
I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday!
Grace and Peace,