In the 1946 film classic, It's a Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart's character gets a chance to see what life would be like had he never been born. This great film became the inspiration of a wonderful book, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? by D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe.
The conclusion of the authors is that Christ's influence on the world for good is immeasurable.
A few of the contributions that Christianity has made to the benefit of the world include: hospitals, universities, benevolence, the abolition of slavery, civil liberties, the elevation of women, modern science and even the discovery of the New World by Columbus.
Dr. James Allan Francis put Christ's influence into perspective years ago in his famous narrative:
One Solitary Life
He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a home. He didn't go to college. He never visited a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself.
He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between thieves.
While He was dying, His executioners gambled for His garments, the only property He had on earth. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today He is the central figure of the human race.
All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that one solitary life.
The good news of great joy is that our Savior, Jesus, was born and what a difference His birth has made!
• Dr. Ken Haskins is the pastor of First Christian Church and a member of the Carson City Ministerial Association.