The Collision

"But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law," Galatians 4:4

The Christmas Story reveals a collision between man's need, and God's love. Good and evil are essential parts of the narrative. They are contrasting threads woven through the fabric of the tapestry, from the manger to the cross. Man's futility, to reach up to God, was met by God's ability, to reach down to man. God provided a lost world a Savior, in the form of a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.

"Good and evil travel down parallel tracks, and generally arrive at the same time." Ron Dunn

The first time I heard Ron speak these words, I couldn't tell, if they were profound or just perplexing. His explanation helped me make a connection, between the tracks of good and evil. I often need his insight, when I face the intimidation of immediate circumstances.

When I asked Ron to explain to me what he meant, he related an experience, he once had with a grandmother, holding her first grandchild. The woman poured out a heart-breaking story, of a wayward husband, who had abandoned her daughter. She said, "I wish she had never met that man." Ron's response to her was, "Then you must regret the birth of your grandchild?" The grandmother instinctively tightened her embrace, on her little one, and emphatically said, "No!" Ron empowered her to make the connection, between good and evil, by sharing with her the statement quoted above.

When I heard Ron's explanation, the perplexing became the profound. I often lose my perspective, in the trauma of a train wreck, at the junction of good and evil. The collision is not a result of crossing the two tracks, but the arrival of a train of trauma, at one destination. My first reaction to evil is usually, "What the hell is going on?" Given time to cool down, I eventually respond with, "God, make something good come out of this?"

Finding out what God can do, in the face of evil, is what the Christmas story is all about. At the darkest of times, the night may be silent, but God is not still. He is always at work, and His train runs on time. He is never late, but sometimes, I think He misses some great opportunities to be early. I am a work in progress.

"But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law," Galatians 4:4

When Jesus came into this world, He arrived at a very evil time, in human history. God sent The Light of the world, into a very dark place. The Roman world deserved the heat of His anger, but God sent them The Light of His love. Note to self: Light trumps heat.

"Better to light a candle, than curse the darkness." John F. Kennedy

I understand these words were first spoken by Peter Benenson. An English lawyer, who founded Amnesty International, he shared them at a Human Rights Day ceremony, December 10, 1961. Amnesty International symbolizes their work with a candle circled by barbed wire. The followers of Christ might consider lighting a candle wrapped in a crown of thorns.

There are many memorable scenes in the Mel Gibson movie, "The Passion of the Christ." One, that stirred my heart the most, was the moment when Jesus dropped to his knees, under the weight of the cross. He looked up, and said, "Behold, I make all things new." Revelation 21:5

This graphic, cinematic picture of the collision of good and evil, revealed to me, in one breath, the heart a Savior, and the mission, of His followers. On His way to Calvary, Jesus was a man on a mission, not a victim of circumstance. His followers are commissioned to be His missionaries. As such they carry the same message, to a world in darkness. They are candles, wrapped in a crown of thorns, indeed.

From the earliest moments, as a Southern Baptist Sunbeam, I was taught to sing, "This little light of mine. I'm gonna let it shine." It ranks up there, with one of the most profound truths ever put to music, "Jesus loves me. This I know, for the Bible tells me so." Both tunes carry a powerful message, and have a spiritual shelf-life that will outlast most of what passes for today's latest holy hits. But I digress.

The world will always be a very dark place, without The Light of God's love. Without Jesus, people never see what they are missing, until it is too late. When we sing it, we bring it. "Let it shine!"

At the collision of good and evil, expect evil to blame good, for the consequences. For example, if an evil person uses a gun, to kill innocent people, the first reaction of people living in a dark world will always be, "Take all the guns away from good people." To people blinded by the dark, this makes perfect sense. They just can't see without The Light. The Light cannot cannot be described to someone who has not seen it. They must see The Light. So again, "Let it shine!"

Evil hates The Light, because it can only thrive in the dark. When Jesus steps into the darkness, evil is seen for the malignant, repugnant beast that it really is. It cannot bear to be exposed to The Light. Because God's love triumphs over darkness, evil sought to keep people in the dark, by defeating The Light, at the cross.

Evil always overplays it's hand, in the blame game. At the point of collision, evil placed all the blame on Jesus, and nailed Him to the cross. Evil claimed victory over The Light, because it could not see what God was up to, in the dark. It still does, and it still can't.

In three days time, The Light broke through the empty tomb, and the message of The Christmas Story lit up the night, so a dark world could see The Light of God's love. It still does, and it still can, if you, "Let it shine!" MERRY CHRISTMAS!