We live in a world where God is out of our sight and out of our minds. Too many persons, including many Christians, live as if there is no God or as if He is irrelevant to their daily existence. Craig Groeschel calls the latter “Christian atheists,” persons who say they believe in God but live as if they didn’t.
Why is this the case? I don’t think it is because the true atheists have won us over. In fact, since the beginning of the postmodern era, there are very few true atheists left. Postmodernism admits that man is a spiritual creature and most atheist’s arguments fall of deaf ears.
I don’t think it’s because God has failed to make Himself known. Nor that He Himself is disinterested in His planet and its inhabitants.
I do think it is because most of us are deists at heart and agnostics in practice. Deism is the classic idea of the “clockwork God” who sets the world into motion and then steps away to let humanity work things out. God is there, but does not intervene in human events. Agnosticism is the belief that although God probably exists, He is basically irrelevant to human life. Sort of like your grandfather suffering from dementia and confined to a nursing home.
Isaiah calls this state of affairs and its inhabitants “people living in deep darkness.”
Advent is the season when we acknowledge that we are people living in darkness. In fact, if we manage a little honest reflection in between mad dashes to the mall for yet one more present, we admit we are in deep darkness.
That deep darkness confines generosity and good will to a few weeks before December 25.
It excuses our consumption and materialism while neighbors still starve and others have nothing.
It tolerates our intolerance of people not like us and blunts any compassion under the excuse of “being practical or realistic.”
Deep darkness keeps us living as if we are accountable to no one except ourselves, and then justifies our making an exception to all of our sinful choices.
But in all of this, we are not without hope. “The people living in deep darkness have seen a great light … for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given … and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9.2-6)
The light is in the world.
The light is on.
The time has come for us to open our eyes and see the light.
(C) 2010 by Stephen L Dunn