For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful. Isaiah 9:6
One my favorite Christmas movies is the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It is the story of a man named George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, who is rescued from despair and a suicide attempt by an angel. In the process it forces him to take a long hard look at how he views his life.
Several years ago I started my sermon with a poll using our interactive audience response system. I asked the question “All things considered, would you describe your life as ‘Wonderful?’” As I suspected I discovered that less than two thirds of the Bible believing Christians in attendance actually felt like they had a wonderful life. It was not a surprise to me because in preparing my message I found a similar poll of the general populace that indicated even less considered their life “wonderful.” That survey showed 94% of Americans admitting they needed something in particular to happen in their lives before they could be happy.
The mistake people make in determining they do not have a wonderful life is in thinking it depends upon outward circumstances. The fact of the matter is that everyone can have a wonderful life. That is because having a wonderful life is actually a matter of attitude and not accident, choice and not chance. The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us the “time and chance” catches up with everyone. (Ecclesiastes 9:11) If having a happy and fulfilled life depended only on favorable conditions, a wonderful life would at best remain an illusive dream for everyone.
But the reality is, as George Bailey discovered with his encounter with Clarence the angel, whether or not we have a wonderful life is determined by our perspective.
The good news is that God offers all of us the promise of a wonderful life. It is a sure and certain promise that does not depend upon circumstances; because it is found in a person and not a probability. That person is God’s own son Jesus Christ. He is the one whom Isaiah the prophet predicted 700 years before his birth, would be called Wonderful. (Isaiah 9:6)
Therefore the secret to a wonderful life is not about having wonderful circumstances. It is about having a wonderful attitude that comes from having a relationship with the Wonderful One. And if we want to put “wonderful” as a permanent description of our lives we need to invite the Wonderful One to come in and take control.
This is the heart of the Christmas message – a promise of a wonderful life because we know the Wonderful One. I pray that this Christmas finds you rejoicing with the angels at the birth of the Wonderful One – the giver of a wonderful life.