Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light. (Helen Keller)
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn’t put it out. (John 1:4-5 MSG)
The small turquoise cup was given to me by the owner of a coffee shop. “It’s Lenca,” she said. “The tribe is learning to share their story in new ways.”
Turquoise – the color of the sky when the light has come.
The Lenca tribe is the largest indigenous people group in Honduras. They are farmers
Things are more complex now in their country of Honduras, as new people are welcomed and new traditions are created for future generations who know little about the generations that have come before. Life doesn’t look as it used to for the Lenca people, but life finds a way. Their language is now extinct, and yet they still communicate their heritage. Their pottery, designed now to attract the eye of those who purchase it in markets and transport it to lands far away, still reflects the imaginations of generations past. They see hills as holy places, they see the sun as a gift. Light breaks through the darkness – and light brings new life.
I wonder if light has always come first to the ones awake to see it break.
The angels came first to shepherds – common folk, not considered worthy of big news. They came first to shepherds who were fighting sleep to protect flocks from predators that delighted in the darkness. The shepherds were waiting for light’s arrival. The angels came to the lowly ones who knew each sheep by the curl of its wool or the markings on its face or the sound of its bleat. The angels came first to the shepherds to announce the birth of a liberator, a savior, a king. The greatest event of all time was first announced in the smallest of ways to those who were simply awake.
Maybe the angels came small because Jesus delights in small things. He’s never been about building a stage and making a spectacle. He’s never been about the big production, and He’s never waited until everyone was waiting on Him to show His great love. Even His greatest miracles were only recognized in retrospect. The walking on water. The opening of blind eyes. The rolling of the stone. They weren’t witnessed by a million. Rather, they were a gift to the ones awake to His light break. Even the feeding of the 5000 was done in the smallest of ways. Jesus took bread and fish, and simply blessed and broke and shared. Did those who ate know their fish and bread meal was a miracle, or were they simply happy to have a snack after a long day? Did some of them complain because it wasn’t their favorite, or were some frustrated because things took longer than they desired? Maybe some walked away before they were even given a taste of that miracle, bothered that things weren’t prepared in advance. The 5000 didn’t witness the miracle. But one little boy willing to share his lunch then watched with wakeful eyes as multitudes were fed.
He didn’t come to a king.
He didn’t come to a government leader.
He didn’t come to a church.
He didn’t come to a crowd.
He came while the world was sleeping. And He came to those who were awake.
The angels say He came for everyone. All people. The whole world. And they said that was exceptionally good news.
And the first words they said were this: “Don’t be afraid.”
Don’t be afraid to believe. Don’t be afraid to receive. Don’t be afraid to celebrate the miracles of the small ways. Don’t be afraid of the light that’s breaking through the darkness. Jesus has come. And He is the light of the world.
You’re much too young now
So I write these words down,
“Darkness exists to make light truly count.”
(Uneven Odds, Sleeping at Last)