By Joel Hess –
A little over 5 years ago, 33 Chilean miners had a mountain fall on them miles beneath the earth. Darkness. It literally could not be any darker. They could not see their hand in front of their face. The darkness was only disrupted by screams and shouts. After a while they managed to turn some lights on. Fortunately, they were all ok. But they were completely trapped. There was no possible way they would be able to escape by their own efforts and ingenuity. Can you imagine being in such a situation? Maybe you have been. Completely helpless. Waiting for death or worse, waiting for suffering. 17 days went by as the food ran out along with hope. Suddenly a drill bit pierced their prison! Salvation!
That’s Epiphany! John conveys it well when he writes, “the Word became Flesh and He dwelt among us!” or later, “when the disciples were together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them, ‘Peace be with you.’”
In Christ, God pierced through the dark prison that we have made of our lives and this world. On Christmas morn, a drill bit busted through the rocky wall. A child is born! God for us! More than that, Jesus rescued you through His Church whom He personally sent to find you – and snatched you out of certain doom. Let there be light.
There are worse things than being stuck 2 miles underground in total darkness. When one of the miners stuck his head above the ground to the applause of friends and family, he was met by his wife…and his mistress. Nice. The wife walked away alone. A whole other kind of darkness met her that night.
Maybe you are familiar with that darkness. The darkness that keeps you up at night. The nightmare that greets you when you awake. It’s 2016 and many are still afraid of wars and rumors of wars. Many scramble around deep underneath hopelessness, guilt, shame, death. We try to save ourselves with government, medicine, philosophy, good deeds, nothing. Many are still stuck in a cave of their own making. Some even walk around pretending they know what they are doing as they crash into walls, reality, in the dark.
Jesus Christ is the light of the world. The darkness cannot overcome. His light is only for those in darkness.
Magi were awoken by a star that entered their dark minds and hearts. It led them to Jesus because it was sent by Jesus. They were not Jews. They were strangers. Like all of us, estranged from God and one another. Yet Jesus came to them!
Those Magi likely dwelled in lands full of people we might call our enemies today. So what? Isis, Netanyahu, homicide bombers? Yeah the Star is for them. Jesus is for them! All our neighbors, our Muslim brothers in Adam, our fellow sinners lost in caves of our own creation. Jesus continues to come in the flesh, in light, in gentle words carried by jars of clay through miles’ deep walls of sin shame and death. It’s really quite amazing.
For we are the star. The church. Through us magnificently and more miraculously than a floating celestial object God shines His light of forgiveness and peace into the lives of our coworkers, classmates, family members, and strangers from afar.
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. The darkness has not overcome.
Before the miners returned to the surface they were fed through a tube for some time. At first they looked forward to this tube and the wonderful life saving gifts that came down it from a doctor on the surface. Yet shockingly, in an interview some years later, one of the miners revealed that he had grown to hate the tube. He despised it because he had to totally trust in whoever was sending food down it! He couldn’t do anything; he was completely helpless. He was at a doctor’s mercy!
So it is with us. Even after rescue we are completely dependent upon Christ. Our old Adam doesn’t like it. We want to rescue ourselves. We want to do our share. We want to be in charge. We want to have control – even though we have time and time proved our completely inability to be in control. And of course we don’t like to be dependent! Ugh! How many elderly or chronically ill people consider suicide because they don’t want to be a burden!
Ah, but you can trust the one at the other end. The source of the light. The man giving mercy. It is the one who died and rose for you! Just receive the gifts. Bask in the light. He won’t stop saving or feeding. He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of His coming!
Jesus Christ is the light of the world. The darkness has not overcome.
May His light continue to shine on you, breaking through, breaking you down, and bringing you up.