"The people walking in Darkness have seen a great light;
On those living in the shadow of death, a light has dawned"--Isaiah 9:2
It is dark outside. Not right this minute now. But this time of year in Eastern Hungary, it is dark alot. The sun rises around 7:30am and sets around 3:30 in the afternoon. And quite often the hours of daylight are obscured by the low lying greyness of winter. I never realized until this year how appropriate it is that we celebrate Christmas, the birth of our Savior, just after Winter Solstice-- the darkest day of the year.
Christ came into all that heaviness symbolized in this time of year -- into that valley of the darkest shadows and brought light. After Christmas, after the new light has dawned, the days become longer. It still may be a long time 'til summer, but the additional daylight of each passing day gives us all reason to hope.
But today it is still dark outside. And for our friends in Bosnia, that darkness has become tangible. The Mezgers are a delightful missionary couple living in Sarajevo with their two small sons. Living in the recovering war-torn area is no picnic, but having a vehicle to get around with the two kids made it bearable. Last week, their car was stolen with all its contents. Whoever did it was no amateur as it was locked up and in their garage. Somehow, even though the car is not even registered in their names, the culprit got their cellphone number. The thief called them demanding for $4000 for the return of the car.
The Mezgers have chosen not to negotiate with criminals, but that sends $13,000 (the price of the car) down the drain at a time when their support is already dropping dangerously low. Among the car's contents were countless valuable items including one stroller, two car seats, mp3 player, and mix tapes that the couple made for each other when they were falling in love.
It's a cold, demoralizing darkness. And into this darkness, Christ comes. I can sympathize with the Jews who wanted their Messiah to come in a chariot of fire -- a grand political leader who would right all the injustices of their times.
For the sake of the Mezgers, I want Christ to come as a Terminator-like slayer with Rambo-styled justice. Instead, he comes as a helpless infant brought into the world among the livestock. And if we lose sight of the big picture, we can't help but ask, where is God in this?
But the answer is clear. He is there. Right in the middle of the Mezger's demoralizing, debilitating darkness, He is there. He is in the midst of that shadow of death for those suffering the brutalest of losses this Christmas season. He comes, not violently like a flash of lightening, but gently like the dawn. He comes as an infant.
Many people continue walking in darkness all around us, and our own circumstances may make us feel like 3:30pm sunsets are our destiny for eternity. But take heart, and let this Christmas remind you that the light of eternity was born among man. It is a new dawn, because Christ has come.