Saturday, 15 December 2012

The Light of Christmas Pt. 7 {Silence Broken}

continued from Part 6

Before I became a Christian, I avoided the more exuberant ones I knew as much as possible.  They could be an intimidating lot always preaching wrath and judgement and sin and what I needed to do to avoid it and did I want to come to church on Sunday.
This God they spoke of, well, He scared me.  I didn’t know much about Him but He sounded like an old guy with a beating stick watching and waiting for someone to do something wrong.  Guilt was his weapon and punishment his payback.
Yet for some reason I could not explain, I was drawn to these people I knew who went to church and seemed so joyful, so not-about-to-fall-apart-at-the-drop-of-a-hat like I was. 
Then one morning, with the lazy days of summer past, and the routine of fall setting in, I decided to darken the doorstep of church for a second time. 
The God I saw and heard about in this church was not the god I had drummed up in my own imagination, He was different.  He was loving, forgiving, gentle, patient, humble, personal.  Following that first Sunday, I kept being drawn back, as if my heart was being beckoned by words I knew not, the gentle calling of Jesus, “Come to me all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  (Matt. 11:28)
Four Sundays I entered that small country church.  On the fourth Sunday, something familiar happened.  The message was on faith, the words of the preacher once again spoke exactly what I was feeling, thinking,fearing, living.  Words of a forgiving God got through and pierced a deceived, cold, hard heart and deaf ears. 
The familiar extending of a gift from invisible hands, this time accepted with a humble heart and open hands.
I left that day forever changed; a new heart, a new purpose, a new creation –
something brought forth from nothing;
life brought forth from death;
light into darkness. 
“For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone into our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  2 Cor. 4:6
My silence was shattered with peace, love and forgiveness.  A silence, a darkness, I could not break myself.  It reminds me of the silence that was broken over 2,000 years ago.  Four hundred years of silence, finally God spoke.  An angel appeared and shattered the silence with,
“Do not be afraid” (Luke 1:13)
Those are not words of a fierce, spiteful god with a punishing rod watching from the sky.  Those are words of a
father to a child;
a protector to one exposed to harm;
a redeemer to one in need of redemption.
Four hundred years of silence was broken by a gentle, humble reassurance.
The promise was coming, the Dawn was on the horizon, bursting forth to a people living in darkness; a people trying to find their way, their own way on their own wisdom, by their own hands, but completely unable to bridge a void the size of eternity.
There was one who could make a way, who could bridge a void the size of eternity, and He did it for love.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
The first Christmas gift was a gift of love, mercy, and grace - a gift of unearned favor - as a newborn’s cry rang out from a manger stable in the dark of night, lit only by a shining star.
“Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.”  Ps. 112:4
 
To be continued......

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