The Light for Everyone
The poet W.H. Auden once wrote, “Nothing that is possible can save us/ We who must die demand a miracle”. David Zahl, reflecting on this phrase by the poet, reminds us of the miraculous nature of our salvation. He writes:
“This is a bold statement, and one whose truth might not be self-evident in everyday life. Many of the problems we face on a daily level can be fixed, or at least, addressed: If our car breaks down, we can take it to the garage. If we get a headache, we can take some aspirin. If we say something mean, we can apologize, and so on.
“Auden’s meaning becomes clearer when we consider problems of a less everyday nature. The kind that keep us up at night. I was speaking with a friend recently who had just separated from his wife. He told me, “I’ve done everything I can think of. Even couples’ counseling hasn’t helped. She just doesn’t want me. It’s going to take a miracle to save our marriage.” He had pursued all the right options, and nothing had worked. The problem was simply beyond him. So it is with us. Our condition is not fixable. That is, we can empirically say that the solution to human nature has not been found in the realm of “what’s possible”. Instead, we need a miracle to save us – from ourselves, from our sin, and ultimately, from death.”
It should come as no surprise that the birth of the one “who will save his people from their sins” was full of the Impossible. As John says, ‘The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world’ (John 1:9). And for those ‘who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God’ (John 1:12). Talk about miraculous – we become children of God.
Zahl concludes his meditation by reminding us of the ‘glad tidings’ of Christmas:
“Is there a situation in your life where nothing short of a miracle will help? An impossible problem or person that just won’t go away? This passage gives us permission to acknowledge that some problems are indeed too big for us. You are not imagining things – “we who must die demand a miracle”. Yet the “glad tidings” of Christmas are that Jesus is the miracle we have been waiting for, the one who saves us. The impossible problems of this life have found their impossible answer in him. Repeat the sounding joy!”
This week we are continuing our study in the Gospel of John 1:6-13 as we consider ‘Jesus: Light for Everyone.’ Tragically, not all will receive or believe this truth. But some will. Will you? Do you believe? Join us this Lord’s Day as we consider some significant features of true faith. Is your faith a saving faith?
We invite you to worship with us on this fourth Sunday of Advent as we participate in covenant baptism. This is a day of ‘glad tidings’ and a good time to invite your friends and family to join you in hearing about the impossible that God makes possible. See you Sunday.
Thank you for your ministry to our family in the recent death of Michelle’s dad. Bonnie (Michelle’s mom), Michelle and I give thanks to God for your outpouring of love. Thank you for your prayers for our family over the past number of weeks. Michelle and I are grateful to have moved into our new home and are anticipating the time we can praise the Lord with you during an open house soon following the holidays.