One of the most favorite and beloved Christmas season shows is Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed.

It is the post-war tale of a savings-and-loan manager who struggles against a greedy banker in a small town.  Through the help of an angel named Clarence, who is trying to win his wings, do-gooder George Bailey (James Stewart) recognizes his life as wonderful and truly rich, only after being shown what his small town would be like if he was never born.  

  • As a boy George would save his younger brother Harry from drowning.  His brother eventually would grow up to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. 
  • He would also keep the local pharmacist from mistakenly giving poison to a young child.
  • George’s acceptance of a high school girl who was considered “loose” would keep her from going head long into prostitution.
  • George’s business ethics and authentic ce greedy banker, Mr. Potter from taking over the town.oncern for the common townsfolk would keep th

But one day George Bailey goes through a tremendous trial and wishes to God that he would “never have been born.”  His wish is granted by God who assigns the angel Clarence the task of showing George what life would be like if he was never born. 

  • As a result George's younger brother Harry dies
  • The grief-stricken pharmacist becomes the town drunk after mistakenly poisoning a child.
  • The high school girl becomes the town harlot.
  • The small town is taken over by Mr. Potter, the greedy banker.  It is renamed Pottersville and becomes a town of greed and vice. 
  • George’s children aren’t born because he isn’t around to marry his sweetheart Mary who eventually becomes an old maid.

Towards the end of George’s nightmarish vision of what it would be like if he had not been born, the angel Clarence would utter one of the more memorable quotes from the movie, “Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives, and when he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?”

George Bailey would learn that life just wouldn’t be the same if he wasn’t around.

Let's imagine for a moment what would life be like if Jesus hadn’t been born.  Jesus Himself raised that question the night before He was crucified (John 15:22).

Some two thousand years ago Jesus came to this world, and made an impact deeper than that of any other personality that has touched this world.  His influence pervades all the realms of life.  His influence pervades literature and government and law and religion and art and music.  All the spheres and realms of life have been personally influence by Christ and Christianity.

What if He had not come?  Where would the world be at this moment if Christ had not been born?

1.)   When Jesus was born three-fifths of the world was entrenched in barbarianism.

Before Christ was born, especially those in the Western Hemisphere, tribal cultures were known for their brutal forms of slavery, human sacrifice and cannibalism. One change brought about by Christianity is emphasis on kindness toward enemies and avoidance of torture.

(Mat 5:38 NKJV)  "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'

(Mat 5:39 NKJV)  "But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

(Mat 5:43 NKJV)  "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'

(Mat 5:44 NKJV)  "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

2.)   When Jesus was born women were treated as property

When Jesus came on the scene, times were especially rough for women.  Christianity’s teachings on the treatment of women were radical for the time.  Christ was never quoted as saying anything demeaning or derogatory to women.

On the other hand, the Koran has teachings that denigrate women:

[Sura 4:34] The men are made responsible for the women, and GOD has endowed them with certain qualities, and made them the bread earners. The righteous women will cheerfully accept this arrangement, since it is GOD's commandment, and honor their husbands during their absence. If you experience rebellion from the women, you shall first talk to them, then (you may use negative incentives like) deserting them in bed, then you may (as a last alternative) beat them. If they obey you, you are not permitted to transgress against them. GOD is Most High, Supreme.

Women living during the time of Jesus could hardly leave their homes. When her husband had guests over, she was not even allowed to sit in the same room. Their status was extremely low among the Romans, where the father of the family had the power of life and death, even over his wife.

In ancient cultures, a wife was the property of her husband.  Aristotle said that a woman was somewhere between a free man and a slave.  In India, widows were voluntarily or involuntarily burned along with their husband at his funeral. Christian missionaries were a major influence in stopping these century-old practices and ideas.

In the Gospel of John, chapter four, Jesus’ disciples were amazed that He would talk to a woman in public.  It was a commonly held viewpoint that men talked only with prostitutes in public.

Christianity weakened the practice of polygamy, as Jesus made it clear that a man has but one wife.  Christianity also made it clear widows were to be taken care of.

3.)   When Jesus was born the abuse of children was a commonly accepted practice.

When Jesus came on the scene, He exalted the worth of children.

(Mark 10:13 NKJV)  Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.

(Mark 10:14 NKJV)  But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.

(Mark 10:15 NKJV)  "Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."

(Mark 10:16 NKJV)  And He took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them.

Christianity's immediate effects were to bring an end to infant exposure; this is where unwanted children were left out in the elements to freeze or die of thirst.

In the ancient world, for example in classical Rome or Greece, infanticide was not only legal, it was applauded. Killing a Roman was murder, but it was commonly held in Rome that killing one’s own children could be an act of beauty.   Christianity would expose the immorality of gladiator contests, cannibalism, incest and abortion.

As the message of Christ was taught and spread abroad, things began to change.  In the places where Christ’s teachings were taught and obeyed, the deplorable treatment of people would begin to decrease.

Where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached, accepted and practiced, living conditions are improved.  Where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached, people are taught how to treat their fellow human being. 

(John 13:34 NKJV)  "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

(John 13:35 NKJV)  "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

By the time you have gotten to this place in this article you may be thinking that many of the effects of sin, that were mitigated or removed altogether by the influence of Jesus, have returned to society today. Jesus said, “I come that you might have life, and that more abundantly” (John 10:10), yet many are willing to take the lives of both the born and the unborn without batting an eye.

Jesus and His Gospel still changes lives today.  Are you willing to let Him in?