Jesus STILL Breaks Through the Darkness

by César De León PhD LMFT, Ministerial Director for the North Pacific Union Conference

In a few days most of us will be celebrating a somewhat “modified version” of our traditional Christmas holiday in what has been predicted will be a dark winter.  This Covid pandemic has in many ways turned out the lights of our previously normal lives. Everything has changed. Nothing seems to be the same.

While many may be resenting the recommendations to restrain from traditional holiday travel to gather with loved ones, others are experiencing deep grief as they face their first Christmas holiday with an empty chair or empty bank accounts as tangible reminders of what they have lost this past year  Still others may be experiencing some guilt-laced relief as they look forward to a much less stressful option to the obligatory and strained gatherings with folk who share little more than some DNA. Any of these groups may still be considered within the class of “lucky ones” who at least are not lying in an overcrowded and understaffed hospital unit, struggling to not die.

Much like today, human hearts were experiencing the darkness of debilitating grief, relentless despair, and ruthless hopelessness which had all but eclipsed the promise of a Messiah babe whose LIGHT would burst into the dark recesses of our gloomy planet one starry night in Bethlehem. The prophetic voice eloquently describes this long-awaited moment:

“In heaven’s council the hour for the coming of Christ had been determined.  When the great clock of time pointed to that hour, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. . . Providence had directed the movements of nations, and the tide of human impulse and influence, until the world was ripe for the coming of the Deliverer. . .

The deception of sin had reached its height.  All the agencies for depraving the souls of men had been put in operation.  The Son of God, looking upon the world, beheld suffering and misery.  With pity He saw how men had become victims of satanic cruelty.  He looked with compassion upon those who were being corrupted, murdered, and lost. . . It was demonstrated before the universe that, apart from God, humanity could not be uplifted.  A new element of LIFE and POWER must be imparted by Him who made the world.

With intense interest the unfallen worlds had watched to Jehovah arise, and sweep away the inhabitants of the earth. . . But instead of destroying the world, God sent His Son to save it. . .At the very crisis, when Satan seemed about to triumph, the Son of God came with the embassage of divine grace.  Through every age, through every hour, the love of God had been exercised toward the fallen race.  Notwithstanding the perversity of men, the signals of mercy had been continually exhibited.  And when the fullness of time had come, the Deity was glorified by pouring upon the world a flood of healing grace that was never to be obstructed or withdrawn till the plan of salvation should be fulfilled.

Satan was exulting that he had succeeded in debasing the image of God in humanity.  Then Jesus came to restore in man the image of his Maker. None by Christ can fashion anew the character that has been ruined by sin.  He came to expel the demons that had controlled the will.  He came to lift us up from the dust, to reshape the marred character after the pattern of His divine character, and to make it beautiful with His own glory.” White, Desire of Ages, 32-38.

Colleagues, this dark winter may very well create an ideal opportunity in which to share the Good News that inexplicable LOVE not only became flesh one Bethlehem night, but that this highly relational Emmanuel still bursts into the darkness of this planet to continue bringing the light of hope, mercy, compassion and healing LOVE to all who will surrender their despair and disbelief . . . and will believe He longs for transformational oneness with them.

Who might there be in your circle of influence who desperately needs their darkness to be eclipsed by a highly relational, loving, Jesus Christ?  Many in our culture—including our children—will have a difficult time believing in a benevolent, relational God without seeing and/or experiencing highly relational, loving people (parents) who exhibit the loveliness of Christ’s character within loving marriage relationships and in loving relationships with others.  The exponential POWER of home religion cannot be underestimated as we think and pray about relevant methods to evangelize those in our communities.

Following are just a few ideas that may help your own creative ideas flow as you and yours celebrate the incarnation of Emmanuel—God WITH us:

  1. Consider making some time to read—as a family—the Christmas story from the Bible in different versions. The Message version by Eugene Peterson is one your children & young adults may especially enjoy.
  2. Consider making some time to read—as a family—the Christmas story from the Bible in different versions. The Message version by Eugene Peterson is one your children & young adults may especially enjoy.
  3. Consider making some time to read—as a family—the Christmas story from the Bible in different versions. The Message version by Eugene Peterson is one your children & young adults may especially enjoy.
  4. Consider making some time to read—as a family—the Christmas story from the Bible in different versions. The Message version by Eugene Peterson is one your children & young adults may especially enjoy.

Whatever you do, during and beyond this holiday season, I pray you will lift up the person of Jesus Christ, not only as the Light of this world, but as a highly relational, loving Friend who deeply desires to find room in our hearts so He can influence and imprint His lovely character on each one of us as we shine light into the lives of others!  

Christmas blessings to you and yours! 

Comments Off on Jesus STILL Breaks Through the Darkness

Filed under Lifelong Learning