These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. - John 16:33 (KJV)
Years after starring in Frank Capra's 1947 Christmas classic film, "It's a Wonderful Life," Jimmy Stewart said that, all in all, his role in that film (as George Bailey) remained his favorite. And what is there not to like in that film? It is the story of a good man driven by principles of goodness and service to others but how, seemingly, in spite of all that goodness, life has been very unfair to him. Then an angel from God is sent to show George Bailey what life would have been like for others had he never been born. And by the film's end we see how such goodness does pay off even if it is not in financial riches. George Bailey got to see his true riches in a faithful wife, a loving brother and children, and in so many good friends.
God has blessed us each with great riches. In Ephesians 1:7-9 Paul describes some of those riches when he writes,
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight, making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ…
We are RICH and we have been RICHLY BLESSED. Yet how often do I interact with Christians who seem anything but full of "good cheer"? I don't understand it. These are people who have lived their entire lives in America, who can read and write, who received a very good education, who are married, have children, and live in a nice house in a safe community. They understand the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, call him their Savior and Lord, and are known and loved by many and yet they lack exactly what Jesus said we should have: good cheer.
I don’t know what it will take to change such people. Charles Dickens suggested a night of visions of Ebenezer Scrooge's past, present and future to cure that old man of his cantankerous ways. But it doesn't seem that any of us are in a position to affect the dreams and visions of others.
If you are one of those who are known to be dour…sad…far less than cheerful, I sincerely wish and pray for you the "good cheer" of our Lord Jesus Christ. Take off your sorrow and put on Christ. For with him comes both a thankful and a cheerful heart. Merry Christmas!