Sunday, December 25, 2022

It Really is a Wonderful Life

by Dr. Craig von Buseck @CraigVonBuseck

Like many of you, one of my favorite Christmas movies is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” We all know the classic tale of a talented young man named George Bailey who dreams of adventure in exotic lands. He sees himself going to college and becoming a great architect and builder. These hopes are shattered when his father dies suddenly and George is forced to take over the family business.

George postpones his own dreams due to a feeling of love and obligation for his family. This becomes painfully clear when a crisis arises and in a fit of anger he kicks over a model of a suspension bridge and a high rise building—the remnants of his dream to be an architect.

It’s in these dashed hopes where we often see ourselves. You may desire to be a revered best-selling author and speaker. Yet the reality may be that you work a job which you only endure—or worse, despise—and you write when you can, early in the morning, at night, or on the weekends.

Like George, the responsibilities of life have you tied down to a life that can often seem like drudgery. 

Later, when his absent-minded uncle misplaces a large sum of money, George is faced with the possibility of going to jail. After a futile search for the funds, George cries out to heaven in desperation. God answers this prayer by sending a gentle, simple-minded angel named Clarence to help him. 

“It figures I’d get an angel like you,” George laments. “It would have been better if I was never born.”

Clarence arranges for George to see what life would have been like if he had not been there to influence the world around him. George discovers that many of the people he loved would have suffered greatly, or even died, if he had not been there to help them.

In this touching story we can see that just like George Bailey, God created each of us with a purpose to fulfill. The Apostle Paul writes, 

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10, NASB)

If God has gifted you as a writer and speaker, then it’s for a purpose. Ours is not to fret over how many people are reading our stuff. If one life is changed and transformed by the gospel through our writing, then isn’t that enough? And if we are doing our part to get the word out, then with God’s help, we will reach many more than just one.

Immanuel—God with Us

During the Christmas season we sing the classic hymn, "O Come, O Come Immanuel," but have you ever thought about what this familiar song means? The text is based on the biblical prophecy from Isaiah:

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:22-23, ESV)

God gave Jesus to mankind as the first Christmas present. Through our writing and speaking, we give that present to others again and again and again. This is part of our role of being co-laborers with God in His work of reconciling the world to Himself.

And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. (2 Cor. 5:18, NLT)

In every word you write and every message you proclaim, you are a part of this glorious ministry of reconciliation.

We Are Not Alone

Let’s remember that as writers and speakers, we are not alone. Another way that God is Immanuel in our lives is through the Holy Spirit that dwells with us. Jesus promised that this ‘Helper’ would remain with us forever!

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth… (John: 14:16-17, ESV). 

Since Jesus’ death and resurrection, God exists with us in a whole new way. He is as close as a whisper and He is available to guide us and help us. This is a tremendous advantage for the Christian writer and speaker. 

It’s almost not fair to have God Himself helping us with our writing, but that is what He promises to do! So we should take full advantage of this divine help. As I work on various projects, I’m constantly asking the Holy Spirit to help me. I find it to be truly remarkable when He does and I recognize the thoughts flowing through me and onto the page are not my own.

I Am His Pencil

Mother Teresa spoke of this mystery when she declared: “I am a little pencil in God's hands. He does the thinking. He does the writing. He does everything and sometimes it is really hard because it is a broken pencil and He has to sharpen it a little more.”

It’s important for us to recognize that through our writing, we are God’s little pencil. 

Like George Bailey, it may be that God will call you to give up, or maybe postpone your own dreams for the sake of those who you love. But do not loose heart, because you can never out-give God. In the movie, George Bailey discovers this truth when the friends and family members he had helped over the years rush to his aid in his time of need. 

And like George Bailey, you and I can make a tangible difference in the lives of those around us by letting the light of Jesus shine through our writing. In this season of giving, let’s consider how God may be calling us to give of ourselves to others—and trust Him to get your writing in front of the person who needs to see it most! 

So have a very merry Christmas knowing that God loves you—and He has given you the gift of His Spirit so you can be empowered to give that gift to others through your writing. As you sow into the lives of others, may you reap a harvest of love and discover that in Christ, this truly is a wonderful life!

Watch for Craig’s new book, Telling the Truth: How to Write Narrative Nonfiction and Memoir from Bold Vision Books.


Dr. Craig von Buseck is an award-winning author, international speaker, and Digital Content Director for More from Craig at

Featured Image: Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this inspiring post, Dr. Craig! Blessings for a Merry Christmas!