In the Deepest Darkness. Amidst Tribulation: Jubilation, Intro

Even in the deepest darkness there is light!

"This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because'" (Matt 1:18-21, NIV2)

This was a pure tragedy. Mary faced adversity from the very man who wanted to marry her. Never in her dreams could she have fathomed to be carrying a child "through the Holy Spirit." Never had this ever occurred on our planet. Is it any wonder that Joseph didn't believe her?

"You are pregnant?"

"Yes, by the Holy Spirit."

I can imagine him saying: "Stop telling tales. Who is the real Father?"

"God Himself!"

Let's remember that stoning for infidelity was the norm in these days, and therefore Joseph's response went something like this: "No way! However, since I don't want you to be stoned, the only way to save you is to divorce you quietly. Sorry about that, but I cannot marry you any longer. You have been unfaithful."

How would we have felt if we had been in Mary's situation? How could Joseph reject her for something she hadn't done?

Yes, we, too, have experienced numerous calamities. Every time they have left us wanting; but what are we supposed to do when facing these trials?

The son that Mary was carrying would later give us the solution: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me." (John 14:1, NIV2) All we need to do is trust in our Heavenly Father and in Jesus, and He will see us through every time. I can personally vouch for that!

Mary did leave this calamity in God's hands, and she was rewarded. An angel from God appeared to Joseph in a dream and gave him evidence that Mary had indeed never betrayed him. It must have been hard for Joseph to come back to Mary and tell her how sorry he was for not trusting her; however, Mary was a godly woman, and she eagerly forgave. The trial led to jubilation, not only for reconciliation between Mary and Joseph, but also for anyone living on our planet, for the Son she bore truly saves "…his people from their sins." Hope came forth. Thanks to Mary's sacrifice, the light of the world came amidst us!

The apostle John said it well: "In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:4-5, NIV2). Since we erred, we were in utter darkness. Now the Light had come to show the way.

This reminds me of a story that was told to us when we visited the Linville Caverns in North Carolina last year. Two chaps decided to visit this cave in the 1900s. With one light to guide them in the deep darkness, they succeeded in reaching the farthest stretch of the cavern…and then their light stopped working. They were stuck in complete blackness.

After turning in circles for a while, they heard the gurgle of an underground stream. They knew this stream ran through the caverns towards the outside, and this underground stream would be the means to their salvation. It took them two days to reach the outside, and although the stream guided them, there was still consequences: they were frozen, thanks to the cold water; and they were covered in bruises from the sharp rocks. Nonetheless, they were so thankful to see the sun shine again.

If we had been in their place, lost in the dark caverns, we would also have hungered to see light again, for the darkness in these caves is complete: you cannot even see your hand in front of your face!

This is the condition of those who know nothing about our Heavenly Father or Jesus. Once in the heavenly light, however, we heal, and we find abundant love from the Most High. This is what Christmas is about. Christ led us from our tribulations to jubilation: we have a Father who is nuts about us!

Rob Chaffart

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