What might the world look like otherwise?

Published 8:00 am Thursday, December 16, 2021

About 20 years ago, I read two novels pretty much back-to-back. Both by the same author, the stories were engaging and the writing style kept me eager to know what happened next.

Parker Hudson was a first-time author with “On the Edge,” a story about a man whose life is falling apart all around him and he is at the end of his rope. But God intervenes very literally to keep him from doing something that cannot be undone, and gives him a chance to do it all over. This man, Richard, has an opportunity to go back and live a portion of his life once again — this time armed with new knowledge and a new heart.

In his first attempt, he is an atheist, self-centered and apathetic or hostile toward others. I’m not implying the three are intrinsically interwoven for every atheist, but for this character they are.

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Richard gets a sort of “It’s a Wonderful Life” chance, but unlike George Bailey of the famous Christmas film, Richard’s opportunity is a real do-over, not just a glimpse into what the world would be like without him.

In Hudson’s follow-up novel, “The President,” the reader is introduced to a secular-humanistic president of the U.S. who midway through his term becomes a Christian. His life is radically changed by his new faith and new worldview. His family, staff and the nation struggle with how this affects everything about him and his actions.

In what can be described as somewhat prophetic — since the book was published in 1995 — the story culminates in a terrorist attempt to detonate a nuclear warhead in New York from the World Trade Center, with the center of action dubbed “Ground Zero” and one character calling out, “Let’s Roll!”

In another nod to Frank Kapra’s cinematic masterpiece, the “what if” becomes reality.

These books each present a chance for us to see what might happen if someone lets God have control of their lives.

It’s a great question to consider this Christmas. We can ask ourselves what the world might look like without us as we watch Jimmy Stewart smile and say, “Attaboy, Clarence!” Hopefully therein we’ll be reminded that we each are people of worth and God put us here — so we are of intrinsic value.

But I hope you’ll also ask the question of where you would be if you did not know the Christ child of Christmas as your Lord and Savior. And if you don’t yet know him in that very personal way, I hope you’ll ask yourself where you could be with him.

Then take a chance.

People will disappoint you —it’s just the way this world is. But Jesus — the Messiah who came as a baby, lived and died and rose again as a man, and will one day return as King — oh my friend, He will never disappoint you.

Merry Christmas.

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.com.