Thursday, 23 December 2010 21:03

Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of the year.  As a young boy I was blessed to be able to spend my first ten years in a downtown home in Worcester, Massachusetts that had twelve foot, that’s right, “12” foot ceilings.  Never could remember my mom and dad getting that tree inside.  It always seemed so magnificent.  But last Sunday I had an experience that will forever eclipse that of seeing those trees.

For the past fourteen years my wife and I and her family and some friends have attended the Candlelight Carol Festival at Riverside church in New York City.  The services, the music, and the meditations have always been wonderful, but this year’s message was particularly poignant. 

Dr. James Forbes who has been known as one of the finest preachers in America was always a delight to listen to.  But this year Pastor Robert Coleman shared a brief meditation that left me saying to my wife on the way out that it was the message I would remember the rest of my life.

Coleman related the story of an encounter between Robert Louis Stevenson and his care taker when he was a young lad.  Stevenson was quite sickly and spent many of the days of his young life in bed.  One day the care taker came in the room and saw Robert staring out his window.  She wondered what it was that had so captured this young lad’s attention.  She looked out the window and all she saw was the lamplighter going up and down the street lighting the gas lamps. 

She asked Robert, “What is it that so has your attention?”  Robert responded,
“I am watching the lamplighter punch holes in the darkness.”

Jesus declared we are the light of the world.  The prophet Isaiah declared in Isaiah 9:2, “Those who walked in darkness have seen a great light.”  This is the heart of our mission – shedding light in the darkest places so people have a fresh vision of what is possible when they find themselves in impossible situations.

For as long as I live I will forever remember Sunday, December 19, 2010.  The day I heard a “7” minute meditation that penetrated my soul.  I heard of a young boy lying on his bed of affliction, not complaining, but marveling at the work of the lamplighter.

Stevenson saw beyond his affliction.  He saw what was at the heart of the work of the lamplighter.  He was punching holes in the darkness.  That will be a theme that shall ring loud and clear through our work in 2011.

Will you join me in 2011, and labor with us as we “PUNCH HOLES IN THE DARKNESS?”