Nearly the whole world was focused on the Oct. 14, 2010 rescue of the 33 miners trapped for more than two months below the surface of the earth in Chile.
The overriding concern was the effect of extended light deprivation on their spirits. Fortunately, one of the miners, Jose Henriquez, took on the role of pastor to the group, leading them in prayer twice a day, so that they would not succumb to the darkness of despair. After their rescue, Henriquez spoke of how God used him to help bring his companions out of darkness into the light. It was a moving testimony of how God used one man to bring light into the darkness that these miners experienced.
We have just celebrated Christmas, which reminds us of the light of God that came into our lives, through the infant Jesus.
The Prophet Isaiah proclaimed: “The people who live in darkness have seen a great light!”
We need light in our world enshrouded by darkness. But we need to recognize the real darkness, to allow the light of Christ to shine through. This darkness is our lack of the capacity to accept ourselves, commonly referred to as self-rejection. Each time we give in to self-rejection, we choose the road toward darkness. How do we overcome this darkness?
We need to cultivate the virtue of humility. This may be surprising, especially to those of us who think that self-rejection is humility. Humility is the opposite of self-rejection. It is the grateful recognition that we are precious in God’s eyes and that all we are is pure gift, made to allow his light to shine in the darkness of our world.
We also need the courage to listen to the voice calling us God’s beloved sons and daughters, and the determination to live our lives according to this truth. Unfortunately, the world tells us otherwise. One of the subtle ways it does that is to tell us that we can do whatever we want with our lives. This is a dangerous message because it is simply telling us that our lives and actions do not matter. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to remind us daily, in prayer, that we matter.
Finally, if we are to live continually as children of the light, we must avoid the temptation of trying to prove ourselves. It is the most evident symptom of self-rejection. To overcome our self-rejection, we commonly strive after success, popularity and power. When Jesus was tempted in the desert, the devil tried to get him to seek these three achievements.
Reeling in Christmas hangover, we need to remember it’s simple challenge. The light of God has shone in the darkness of our lives. We need to hear afresh that we are enough, not because of our accomplishments; in fact, despite our failures and brokenness, God loves us sufficiently to share life with us.