Stillmeadow Church of the Nazarene 400 Stillmeadow Lane York, PA 717.764.4888
God's Big Idea
Session #13 - The Greatest Story Never Told
Sunday December 12th
There are certain movies that Sally and I watch every Christmas. They range from the ridiculous to the profound. First, the ridiculous movies: Elf and The ChristmasStory. Profound? It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol (Patrick Steward version), and Nativity. Watching these movies has become a family tradition.
Of course, we have established some Christmas traditions around Stillmeadow. The children’s musical, the adult musical, the Young Messiah and the Christmas Eve service.
This morning, I want to talk about one of them: It’s A Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart. The movie itself came out in 1946 and was directed by Frank Capra. Itwas a flop at the box office when it was released but it has become one of the great movies of all time and is considered the most inspirational American film of all time. Oh by the way our own Bob Malstedt has written a wonderful adaption play called She’s aWonderful Wife and it is scheduled to be represented here at Stillmeadow, Saturday night, January 8th at 6:00 PM.
The plot finds George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) deeply troubled on Christmas Eve, wondering if his life had any meaning. So God sends an angel, Clarence to help him. Clarence “helps” by showing George what the world would be like if he (George) had never been born. I must tell you, the difference is breath-taking. (clip – Larry)
So this morning, I want us to think about this:
What if Jesus had never been born? What if there was no incarnation? No Bethlehem manger? No angels, shepherds, or wisemen? What if Christmas was a story never told?
I. We Would Still Be Uncertain of God’s Love For Us.
1. John 3:16 – God so loved the world.
2. Karl Barth was one of, if not the greatest theologians of the 20th century. One day, while lecturing at the University of Chicago Divinity School, the president of the seminary asked Dr. Barth: “Of all the theological insights you have ever had, which do you consider to be the greatest of them all?” It was the perfect question for a man who had written literally tens of thousands of pages of some of the most sophisticated theology ever put into print. The students held pencils right up against their writing pads, ready to take down verbatim the premier insight of the greatest theologian of their time. Karl Barth closed his tired eyes, thought for a minute, half-smiled, opened his eyes, and said to the young seminarians: ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’
3. Friends, the story of Christmas makes certain of God’s love for us. From the cradle to the Cross, Jesus’ life is a love story. (I John 4:19 – We love because He first loved us).
4. Okay, let’s continue with this exercise of the imagination. What if Christmas was a story never told?
II. There Would Be No Atonement For Sin Through Jesus Christ
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