It's a Wonderful Life: Enduring the Darkness
after that, I'm shaking the Dust
Remember me George Bailey you want to go to work?
Exactly 10:45 p.m. Our time Batman will be thinking seriously about throwing away God's greatest gift.
I don't want any problems. I don't want to make wrong floor. I don't want to get married.
What are the customs of the Christmas season is the movie It's a Wonderful Life. It is considered to be one of the most inspirational and best-loved movies in America cinema. This Frank Capra directed and produced film was produced in 1946, but it is viewed by many annually interesting lie when it first came out it was considered a flop because of how much the cost was to produce it and how few people went to go see it it did when Awards and then for a long time it kind of went into Oblivion. And they forgot to file the copyright claim on it. And so then the channels could air it free of charge and it then it became a tradition he was on every channel because they could go promos 3 hours when you put the commercials in their of Television space and they didn't have to pay a penny for it. And that's how it started to really come into the American culture because it was on everywhere now they have since fixed the problem. There is a copyright but still you will see it on TV and it's one that if you truly watch from beginning to end it moves, you will see the story of God in the midst of that movie I know is I watch the preparing for the sermon series. I watch it on Amazon Prime with no commercials and I was trying to pay attention to everything that was going on not just sit there and watch it like usual and when I got to the end. I was crying bawling crying because I had paid attention to the whole story that was there. Sometimes when it's something that we can watch every year that is part of the culture. We kind of put it on and it's on autopilot while for this Advent season. I would like us to explore it further set during Christmas, but it's not really a story about Christmas. There is so much more there than I actually think it's perfect.
If you haven't seen the movie Let me give you a brief recap George Bailey was in this young man who always dreamed of escaping his small town of Bedford Bedford Falls. I've seen the world. I'm going to college becoming a success and architect and engineer and entrepreneur. But through a series of misfortunate events George sacrifices one dream after another after another until he gets stuck in Bedford Falls running a building & Loan. He inherited from his father watching old classmates and even his younger brother achieve the success and notoriety that he desperately craved for himself. George's near do well on kobili losses and $8,000 bank deposit. Which the authorities believe George has embezzled from the building and Loan since George has no money to pay the money back. He fears he'll soon be arrested convinced that he's worth more dead than alive since he at least has life insurance. He contemplates suicide before an angel named Clarence intervenes to save him and one way Clarence Saves him is by showing him what the world would have been like if George had never been born Today, we begin a New Liturgical year. This is the first Sunday in Advent. This liturgical season can be traced back to the 4th Century originally special worship Services were held throughout the week in near 1650 the church in Spain began to talk about the Sundays of Advent at that time. There were 5 Sundays. It was Pope Gregory the 7th Hoosier in the season 2 for Sunday's I'm too often. We shortened Advent and removed it from our lives. The season of waiting of Christ return this season when we admit that the world is broken. Even with all our technological advances increased Enlightenment. The world is shrouded in darkness. We wait for the light to bring forth the real light real life not the light of Christmas trees not the light of cars driving to Black Friday sales at 4 a.m. In the morning. No the light the whole God will bring forth into the world the light our souls long and pry out for the word Advent means coming. Remember the way Jesus came the first time but we also remember that someday Jesus will return but until then we wait we wait we endure in the darkness in the world with many Broken Dreams. And while we wait we pray trusting God still hears our prayers and that's exactly how It's a Wonderful Life begins in the background. He will hear O Come All Ye Faithful the tune being played and prayers lifted up. Sometimes, people remember is that the latter part of the movie all they remember is some certain phrases. I'll bring them up later. What people fail to forget is it starts? Fully focused on God and Christ O Come All Ye Faithful and prayers being lifted up. Let's see. How the movie.
I owe everything to George Bailey help my friend.
He never thinks about it. That's why he's in trouble.
God I'm not going to your local. What time tonight?
Hello, Joseph, Looks like we'll have to send someone down a lot of people asking for help for a man named George Bailey judge. Danny will have to send coming down immediately.
Now there is a lot that we can learn from a wonderful life, but it is not all theologically accurate you say. These have their Joseph is the one that is receiving all the prayers that are lifted up. No, that's not the case. God directly hears our prayers, but you know, what is still got to the point that those prayers didn't go into a nebulous place never to be heard. It was true. God was listening. God was present God is in the world God hears the prayers of people crying out for someone who is in need. The other thing that is not true that's in the movie and I'm just bringing it up. Now. It's not true that every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings. Angels are different creatures that humans all together. We've discussed that before and so that's what people remember if I say a wonderful life. That's what they're probably going to talk about a bell and an angel getting wings and there's so much more there that we've passed by we forgot we haven't focused on and so we're going to focus on these other things the movie reminds us that the world is a dark place that hurt and pain is it being experienced by people that are good and bad alike. It also reminds us that God is with us and we need to endure those moments where we feel low where we feel wrapped in darkness trusting that God will be with us. Just this week cuz I Was preparing for the sermon series then new snapshot of the nation's overall health came up the new federal numbers released Thursday. Said that our life expectancy in the US is dropping. And that the new numbers are wake-up call that we are losing too many Americans too early and too often two conditions that are preventable. That's what Robert Redfield the director of The Centers of Disease Control and prevention said while these numbers were introduced the average American can expect to live 78.6 years down from 78.73 years in a row. They've been dropping Nationwide 70237 people died following a drug overdose in 2017. And that was a 9.6% increase over temp 2016, which was an increase over the previous year and last year 47173 people killed themselves. Making a 3.7% increase from the previous year which it increase from the previous year. These two hour are linked. Sometimes people want to say. Oh those people that do drugs and they put them in a category of others, but these two are connected it's both in both cases. There's a cry for help people are saying I feel overwhelmed by this world by the darkness. Feeling unappreciated unknown. It's a cry for help and they say that statistically Penny 85 and over. It's an even bigger increase of those committing suicide. There's nowhere to turn because the world says put on a smile pretend you're happy. And so they don't know where they can go to share their pain. They're hurt and as they sit there alone dark thoughts creep in. We in the church need to go through Advent to be honest to share that this world is dark that there is pain that there is hurt that there are things that are people are going through that they do not deserve. But that God is still there still present. That's why we have to go through this time of Advent. I just got moved to the Christmas carols into the joy and just singing happy songs.
The world tells us we feel that we should get our dreams. and everything we want the world does not live up to the expectations given we tell children that anything is possible which is true, but failed to tell them that often things will not go as planned or dreamed.
Satan tells us That were failures Satan tells us that if we don't find the perfect spouse or find someone perfect for us. It's us that has the problem that if we're not able to give birth to a child that there's something wrong with us. Satan tries to make us feel alone. Tries to strip us the truth that God is with us and that is why we need Advent more than ever. To be reminded that even in the darkness God is with us and that light the morning will come. If we fully give up there is no possibility for things to get better. You take away God's ability to bring light into your Darkness. In the movie before we get to the really desperate part where everything falls apart for George Bailey. He shares his dreams the joy.
Kids are going to come true that this is what's going to happen in his life. Just watch.
Hercules George, I know what I'm going to do tomorrow and the next day and next year and the year after that. I'm shaking the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I'm go see the world Grease the Parthenon the Colosseum then I'm coming back here and go to college to see what they going to build things. I'm going to go Airfield. I'm going to be stories high.
Pretty good. Would you wish my
Buffalo Gals won't you come out tonight by the Light of the Moon. Do you want the Moon just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it.
I'll give you the Moon by the end of your hair and I talking too much. Why don't you
want me to kiss her on the wrong people? A whole lot. Hey mister, come on back out here. I'll show you some hair back on your head.
He had all these hopes all these dreams. And they don't come to pass they don't come to be. And throughout the movie he deals with each one kind of shrugging it off and shrugging it off until finally. It's just too much the darkness overwhelms him. And he's got nowhere to turn. Except to God Advent has us admit that there are things that we don't like going on in our lives in the world. That is not measuring up to our dreams are our hopes. And then what we put our trust in God trust that Christ will return and something better is to come in the scripture this morning in Jeremiah. The days are coming declares the Lord when I will fulfill the good promise. I made to the people of Israel and Judah we start with Jeremiah's optimism. The days are surely coming. Such hope and promise must have been a comfort to those that hurt them. I'm not sure how well they go over in today's cynical culture. However, these words of Promise are an excellent way to ignite Advent. Hope they are not God's ways and God is still at work in the world to bring about a new day a day of unity. I'm off for all of God's people. and yeah, it's the people that heard this word endured hundreds of years without hearing anything from God before Christ was even born they were giving this message of Hope and yet they had to wait in the darkness until The suffer in the darkness in the time of waiting for the days that are coming and not a king who usually takes down the powers that are Prescott's people and Usher in this Kingdom of Hope of grace of love that they were waiting for.
This Christmas we're called to acknowledge that we've waited longer than we ever wanted to for Christ to return for things to be made right in this world and a personal level that we see the darkness we experience the pain and we've waited a long time for God to fix it the way we would like it. We need to remember that just because it has yet to be fixed. It does not mean God is absent God is with us.
In the gospel message this morning. There will be signs in the Sun the moon and the stars on the earth Nations will anguish and perplexity at the Roaring and tossing of the sea abandoned in hopes with joyful anticipation worry agonizes over the unknown future both look to the Future. Worry looks neurotically fearfully. Today's Gospel has mistakenly been used to predict the end of the world. That's not its purpose its intention is consolation in times of suffering consolation at those times that caused us to fret in to lose sleep. It speaks of Nations perplexed is maiden and bewildered the word used. About the nation's is distressed is variously translated confused bewildered perplexed with the root. Meaning of the word is not knowing what to do. Sweetie, where are you? We might end up doing nothing where he paralyzed there has never been a time when this is not been true. Our own baffle times are not unique and yet we worry what will the future bring the gospel is not talking about the end of the world, but what to do in the meantime our own personal and communal time of turmoil, Jesus tells us what to do be careful of your hearts will be weighed down with carousing drunkenness and anxieties of life and that they will close on you suddenly like a trap Sprewell. Come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth be always on watch and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen and that you may be able to stand before the son of man. Don't let your hearts be weighed down with dissipation. Schedule Pais don't be involving truck in this again. Good advice. But Jesus is 3rd warning is more serious than the other two. Don't let your hearts be weighed down by worries of daily life. What do we worry about finances? But our children are doing sickness whether or not will be accepted the World at War for the planet being polluted. There's no end of things to agonize about but Jesus knew that worried Wood Way our hearts down and it does hits apps are Joy not to worry does not mean not to be proactive actually 20 Des ministres our ability to solve problems. We want to look to the future but with hope and joyful anticipation Jesus tells us to lean back and lift up our heads. The literal Greek is much more picturesque. It says been yourself back and lift up your heads. We are Advent people. We wait we endure this is not the end no matter how dark our lives for the world looks is just the beginning. I'm going to close with a final story.
Explorer Ernest Henry Shackleton was born February 15th 1874 in Kildare, Ireland. The second of 10 children and oldest son. He was Raising in London where his family moved when Shackleton was a young boy despite the urgent his father that he follow his footsteps and going to medical school the 16 year old check to join the Merchant Navy achieving the rank of first made by the age of 18 and becoming a certified Master Mariner 6 years later. Closing early years in the Merchant Navy SEAL Shackleton, it's travel extensively. He joined noted British naval officer Explorer Robert Falcon Scott on a difficult track to the South Pole that place the two men closer than anyone had previously come to the South Pole the trip. However, ended poorly for Shackleton who felt seriously ill and had to return home upon his return to Ingles in England Shackleton pursued a career in journalism later. He was tapped to be secretary to the Scottish Geographic Society. He also made an unsuccessful attempt to becoming a member of Parliament and Obsession to reach the Antarctic in 1907. He made another attempt of achieving his goal. But again, he fall short coming within 97 miles of the pole before brutal conditions force him to turn back. 1911 Shackleton stream of becoming the first to set foot in the South Pole was shattered window region Explorer Ronald Townsend in reach the Earth's most southerly point the achievement for Shackleton to set his sights on a Numark crossing the ant cranny Crossing Antarctica via the South Pole and declared war on Russia Shackleton Department London on the ship endurance for his third trip to the South Pole by life all the crew head reach South Georgia and island in the southern Atlantic how December 5th the team to part of the island the last time Shackleton and his men would touch land for 497 days in January 1915 the endurance became a nice ultimately forcing Shackleton and his men to vacate the ship and set up camp on floating Ice Heather the ship sank later that year Shackleton embark on an escape in April 19th. In which hand has been crowded into three small boats and made their way to Elephant Island off the southern tip of Cape Horn seven hard days on the water how many of the team reaching their destination but there was still no hope of getting rescued in the uninhabited Island because of its location on the Press.
Again, they boarded a 22-foot Lifeboat and navigate their way towards South Georgia 16 days after setting out the crew reach the island where Shackleton Treach to a whale track to a whaling station to organize a rescue effort and an August 25th. 1916 Shackleton return to Elephant Island to rescue the remaining crew members huge. Icebergs blocked the way but suddenly is it by a miracle Avenue open in the ice and Shackleton was able to get through his we're already they're ready and waiting. They quickly scrambled aboard. No sooner had the ship clear the island that the ice crash together behind them. Contemplating their narrow escape the Explorer said to his men. It was fortunate you are all packed and ready to go and they replied we never gave up hope whenever the sea was clear of ice. We rolled up our sleeping bags and reminded each other the boss may come today. Asana SLI not a single member of the 28-member team died during the two years. They were stranded. They endured they endured in the midst of what most people would consider hopeless in the midst of the darkest coldest places where people could give up that team did not they trusted in the return of their captain that their Captain would come and save them and every time they roll up the bag and be prepared. As we enter into Advent we are reminded that in the darkness. We are still to be prepared not to give up. Hope to look for that small little flicker of light to focus on God. Be reminded that God is in our midst and that we can endure and then we can make it through Advent reminds us up that let us pray. Holy One.
Help us to enter into this Advent season to remove all the things that we put on that are fake untrue. The only see joy and happiness. But the focus on the fact that we know things are not quite right. For those that are here that are at a place of complete Lonas where they see no light where they're questioning their purpose Lord this very day, let them know that you are with them. Hey, you hear them that you cry with them? And that the light the dawn will come the darkness will not last forever. Let them have that hope and let us as people of Hope people of Advent remind the world. That the king is coming. He is returning with light and peace and hope and Grace for all men.