Romans 13:11-14 CEB
So he we are again. Another year is drawing to a close and the Christmas season officially begins with the lighting of the first candle of Advent. Traditionally, Advent takes place the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. A candle is lit, symbolically representing a theme for the week. The four weeks are hope, peace, joy, and love. I appreciate advent because it personally helps we use themes to understand the importance of Christmas. This year I am looking at different holiday movies and comparing them to the different Advent themes. This week is hope, and what better movie to compare the theme of hope than, It's a Wonderful Life.
To begin, I wish to focus on our scriptures. Matthew goes into the unexpected nature of hope. We don't know when hope will be fulfilled. If we did, it wouldn't be called hope, it would be called plans. Paul, in Romans, goes into another aspect of hope we might tend to forget: good and bad hope. Hope doesn't live in the darkness. Hope doesn't live in this world. Hope is born of light.
George Bailey personifies both good and bad hope.
The first hope is so obvious everyone in the town can see it. He hopes to get out of Bedford Falls, see the world, make a name for himself. The world was his oyster and all he needed to do was shuck it. And, everyone wanted to help him. At his graduation, the pharmacist bought George a suitcase. The taxi driver gave George a free ride around town. Everyone wished him the best of luck. Then his father had a stroke and passed away. His plans had to be put on hold as the investors would only keep from selling his father's business to Mr. Potter if George would take his place.(Mr. Potter was concerned with keeping his pockets lined instead of helping the people of Bedford Falls. If he succeeded in taking over the Bailey Building and Loan than he would keep the residents in their slums)
This leads right into George's second hope, the good and real hope: George wants the people of Bedford Falls to live a happy and fulfilling life. In the movie, George always speaks the false hope while lives into the real hope. When he finally finds himself in a place where he might end his life, it is because his real hope appears crushed, not his false one. You never see him fighting for his way out of Bedford Falls, lost in depression when he can't go on his honeymoon, or buying into Mr. Potter's three year deal to work for him. What you always see is his open willingness to sacrifice his future for the Bailey Building and Loan, give up his savings to keep the business open, and sacrifice his life to make up the business deficit. His hope of a better future tomorrow, not an easy fix today.
When it comes to Christmas, we need to start the season picking which hope we are going to live into. The Israelites had a real and false hope too. The real hope was for redemption and the false hope was for vengeance. They wrote of a warrior king would would come and smite those against the people of Israel. What they got was Jesus, the fulfillment of the real hope they had in their hearts.
Today our false hope is much more superficial. Are we going to fit in with the popular crowd? Will we get the expensive present? Are the decorations going to look good? We should be much more concerned with living into the real hope of Christmas. Peace. Joy. Love.
Join us throughout Advent on http://www.reddit.com/r/FigTreeChristian/
It is my hope that your Christmas season is filled with God moments.