Saturday, October 8, 2016

See the Light

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" (which means "God with us").

-- Matthew 1:23

Electricity--and the bright lights it makes possible--is perhaps the one convenience that we most take for granted in our modern society. We simply flick a switch and there it is...until a storm rumbles through and plunges us into utter darkness. How did we ever function before today's Age of Enlightenment? For centuries, people used lamps that burned olive oil. Later, there were candles, whale oil lanterns and even coal gas lighting.

The search for something better took Light Bulbyears of tedious trial and error. Thomas Edison--the world-famous inventor--tried thousands of different materials for his incandescent light before he finally found one that wouldn't burn out in seconds. He eventually solved the dilemma in 1879 by placing a carbon filament in an airless bulb. A few months later, Edison improved his design by using a bamboo-derived filament that could last more than 1,200 hours. The rest, as they say, is history.

Edison's tireless quest for illumination was a bit like mankind's search for meaning and fulfillment in life. We all have a spiritual hunger that's hard-coded into our DNA. Some try in vain to fill this void through negative pursuits involving drugs, alcohol, compulsive spending or questionable relationships. Others cope by becoming workaholics or escaping reality through social media, video games or even travel. But after the thrill is gone, the dark emptiness always returns.

Whether we realize it or not, what we actually seek is our Creator. And to this Jesus responds, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." But many people find it hard to believe that Christ is the answer. After all, how can one person BE and DO all that? It sounds too good and simple to be true.

Jesus backed up the biblical claims of being Immanuel ("God with us") by fulfilling dozens of prophesies written centuries before his birth. There were the many miracles that he performed during his 3-year ministry on earth. And then there was his resurrection to life following his death on a cross, which paid mankind's debt for falling short of God's perfect standards. He healed the sick, restored sight to the blind and even raised the dead. But still, many people refused to believe. And that's still the case centuries later. But don't be too hard on Christ's modern-day skeptics. Even John the Baptist--the person Jesus called the greatest man ever born--had his doubts:

"Are you the one who was to come," John instructed his followers to ask, "or should we expect someone else?"

Jesus answered, "Go and tell John what you have heard and seen. The blind are now able to see, and the lame can walk. People with leprosy are being healed, and the deaf can hear. The dead are raised to life, and the poor are hearing the good news. God will bless everyone who doesn't reject me because of what I do."

After much searching, Thomas Edison eventually found the solution for practical electric lighting. But it was centuries earlier that John the Baptist finally encountered The Light. And you and I can do the same today. It's by putting our faith in Jesus Christ that we can begin our journey with Immanuel: the one who truly is God among us.

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