Do we need saving? In this world of self-sufficiency the idea of a Savior seems out of place, outdated, like the grandparents’ nativity set kept up in the attic and taken down once a year, dusted off and placed on the piano out of nostalgia. It’s a quaint reminder of simpler times, horse-drawn carriages and candlelit sleigh rides celebrating yuletide. It’s nice to remember, see the chipped paint, and smile. The good ole days.
But we are smarter now. Savvy. We know the good ole days had their astonishingly dark secrets. So we may tread lightly with memories of Christmases past once a year, but we don’t unpack the whole box of memories. We have evolved. We’ve made strives. Good ones. Slavery and a woman’s right to vote are fading issues. We feel enlightened, accommodating, and tolerant.
Mass shootings are no longer a surprise. Shock has been replaced with grim incredulity. Another one? Where? How many people were killed? Was it a lone gunman/woman or a team? A wounded member of society or terrorists? Could it have been prevented, were there warning signs, should we expect more, stay inside, or venture out?
Is the root of the problem religion, radical or otherwise? What is the solution? Less guns, more guns? Less laws, or more regulation?
The world that Jesus ventured into as a tiny babe born in Bethlehem was not much different from ours. Hearts were still the same. There were murderers, tyrants, the defenseless, and the afraid. And yet into this dark world a light was born to shine in the darkness. It is easy to root for the light when it illuminates the darkness in others, but what if it beams its ray in our direction? Do we have sin that we hide and don’t want to expose? Hatred, selfishness, unkindness, lack of empathy, bigotry, self-righteousness, arrogance, fear that keeps us immobile and focused on ourselves rather than allowing us to help others? Jesus came to bring light to all. To save. To save us. But we first have to acknowledge the sin that is within, and turn to him, acknowledging that we are all sinners in need of a savior.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. …The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” John 1:1-5, 9