There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
I believe you see the true meaning of Christmas in how we treat one another.
I have a friend – a pastor. He is one of the most positive persons that I know. Two weeks ago, he told me his story.
He was a pastor in a small town when his wife betrayed and left him. She over-charged credit cards, emptied bank accounts and left him in debt. How does a small town treat a pastor who preached marriage and then his wife leaves him?
Food began showing up on his doorstep. Often accompanied by a letter from people who did not attend his church. The leadership of his church didn’t fire him but gave him paid leave.
Faced with overwhelming debt he went to his hometown bank. Small town, large gossip, and often little mercy. As my friend told me about the visit with his banker, I keep hearing the dialogue of Mr. Potter with George Bailey in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life.
Deposit money had been misplaced at Bailey Building and Loan. George went to Mr. Potter, his nemesis, and the president of the other bank in town.
Mr. Potter to George Bailey:
You once called me “a warped, frustrated, old man”! What are you but a warped, frustrated young man? A miserable little clerk crawling in here on your hands and knees and begging for help.
Mr. Potter continues:
Why don’t you go to the riffraff you love so much and ask them to let you have the $8,000 that you need?
I’ll tell you what I’m going to do for you, George. Since the state examiner is still here, as a stockholder of the Building and Loan, I’m going to swear out a warrant for your arrest. Misappropriation of funds, manipulation, malfeasance…
Back to my friend.
After explaining the situation behind his debt to the president of the local bank – the man said to my friend, “Please excuse me as I have to go speak to someone.” When the president of the bank returned, he said…
The bank is going to forgive your loans, don’t worry about it anymore.
Jesus came at Christmas so that we could be forgiven. We are to represent Jesus by forgiving others.
The media talks about the “true meaning of Christmas” this time of year. We all know that God becoming human and then dying upends all bank accounts. We should be different from the world with time, talent, forgiveness, and money.
A recent OG poll (Old Guy i.e., Grant Edwards) reveals that only three living Americans haven’t watched It’s a Wonderful Life at least five times. So, you know the ending.
The riffraff did come to help George Bailey.
When my pastor friend finished giving his testimony, I thought, “Not just in a movie script!” No condemnation, and forgiveness in a small town in America.
Through the manger, God writes the same script for your life.