The man on the bridge

George Bailey stands on the bridge on a cold Christmas Eve. He is at the end of his tether.He has spent his life trying to help others, helping them to build lives for themselves in homes of their own,but now his business is facing ruin, his reputation in tatters.With tears in his eyes and desperation etched onto his face he steels himself to jump into the ice cold water swirling beneath him.

All of a sudden somebody else jumps into the river, and there beneath him he sees another man floundering and crying out for help.Without hesitation George jumps in to the water to save him and pulls the man to the riverbank  

‘Why did you jump?’ George asked,

‘I jumped in because I knew that you would to save me.' the man replied, 'I did it stop you jumping in by yourself. I jumped to save your life.’

The man he saved reveals himself as Clarence Odbody,his guardian angel, sent from heaven on a special mission to save him. But George though colder has not come to his senses. Having saved this man, his problems come back to overwhelm him.

‘I wish’, he says ‘that I had never been born’.

'So be it', says Clarence, 'let it be as you have requested.'

As they go through Bedford Falls, his home town, nobody knows George, it is as though he never existed.

But the people he knew are very different:

His old boss at the drug store has become a down-and-out ruined by the terrible mistake that poisoned one of his patients, a mistake that George as a keen-eyed young assistant had prevented.  

The poorer people of the town live in slums, controlled by a rapacious landlord and not in the nice new homes that George had helped build and finance.

His wife never married, she never knew love and became a dull and lifeless spinster.

His lovely children were nowhere to be found, they never existed.

And his brother lay in the cemetery with a tomb stone bearing his name, forever the nine year old boy who died after falling through the ice of a pond, and not the boy saved by his brother who grew up to be a valiant and decorated war hero.

The town was very different to the one he had known.

He realizes that if he had never existed people’s lives would have been poorer; he had affected the lives of more people than he imagined.

He  sees that he has had a wonderful life. 'It’s a wonderful life' is the title of the film starring James Stewart which is a wonderful film to watch over the Christmas Season.

I wonder what the world would be like without Christmas, not the holiday, because we would soon have created another reason for a party, but what it commemorates. What would the world have been like if God had not sent his son to Bethlehem in the form of a baby lying in a manger? I wonder what this world would be like if Jesus had not come 2000 years ago. Would the world have been better or worse if he had never been born.

The world would have been a very different place without Jesus. Jesus is Emmanuel, which means God is with us. God gave us Jesus because he wants to be close to us to know and share from the inside all that it means to be human. That is what is wonderful about this night.

Our lives can be confusing and this world changes all around us, we may feel at times that we do not matter, that the world would be better if we had no existed, but we do not see what others see when they look at us and the effect we have on them. We do not see what God sees. And the message of Christmas is just the opposite,

It is as though God says 'you are precious in my sightyou matter to me, and for this very reason I give my son to you to show how much I love you'.  

George Bailey came to his senses and  regretted that he had despaired of his life, and he was given a second chance. George touched people’s lives in more ways than he ever realized. So many people were grateful to him for his kindness.

Who can number how many people in the last 2000 years Jesus Christ has touched?

What has he done for you?

What could he do for you,

if you will truly let him into your heart?