After Christmas we enter into the Epiphany season, celebrating the light coming into the world. Christian song writer, Chris Rice wrote a song entitled, “Welcome to Our World,” telling the wonder of Jesus entering our world: “Fragile finger sent to heal us/Tender brow prepared for thorn/Tiny heart whose blood will save us/Unto us is born.” It is hard to imagine the reality of Jesus, through whom, “all things came into existence” (John 1:4), who, “holds all creation together” (Col 1:17), and in whom, “the full nature of God chose to live” (Col 1:19) entered our world as a vulnerable, helpless infant.
The incarnation is a magnificent portrayal of unconditional love for each of us. Philippians 2 describes it as the movement of the preexistent, preeminent Son of God to become the man called Jesus. “For he, who has always been God by nature, did not cling to his privileges as God’s equal, but stripped himself of every advantage by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born a man” (Phil 2:5-6 – Phillips).
The word “strip” or “emptied” comes for the Greek word “kenosis,” meaning to sacrifice oneself for the good of others. C.S. Lewis refers to this as a miracle. “The Christian story is precisely the story of one grand miracle, the Christian assertion being that what is beyond all space and time, which is uncreated, eternal, came into Nature, into human nature, descended into His own universe, and rose again, bringing Nature up with Him. It is precisely one great miracle.” In emptying himself, Jesus is coming all the way to where we live.
The Message calls this miracle the” Life-Light.” ” What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.” (John 1:4-5). Hans van Balthasar describes this descent of divine light. “It is not our movement toward God, but God’s movement to us. It is heaven interrupting our world….the descent of the divine light among human beings not only to shine on, to illuminate, to purify and to warm them, but through grace, to make them also shine with a light of this world.” The darkness will not prevail against the Life-Light.
Men, my sense is the darkness is getting greater in our nation. My concern for the men reading this blog is that you are not being pulled into the cultural darkness. It is like a prison, where our hope gives way to the despair of being confined in iron chains. The Psalmist declared, “Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom, prisoners suffering in iron chains, for they had rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High (Ps 107:10-11). As a result God, “subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help” (v12).
But they cried to the Lord. “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains” (v13-14) Only Jesus, the Light of the world, can, ” breaks down gates and bronze and cuts through bars of iron” (v16).
Once out of prison, be careful not to stumble. “A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light” (John 11:9-10). There is only one source of light. That is Jesus. All the rhetoric of the policy makers and those who implement change in our culture, are stumbling in the dark, if they ignore the light. Don’t follow their lead.