Monday, December 16, 2013

That's How the Light Gets In

And in despair, I bowed my head. "There is no peace on earth," I said. "For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will towards men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: "God is not dead, nor doth he sleep; The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, good will to men."

I remember singing this song one Sunday in a mental hospital in Provo where my ward went as a service to the people there. The Spirit surged through me. The Spirit and hope of Christmastime filled me up.

Through a combination of events and encounters, I was recently made more aware of the state of the world and just how enticing and powerful and influential Satan is in it. It sounds pessimistic, I know. Maybe it's because I'm having to speak of other things besides the gospel all day. Maybe it's because I have been reading/listening to The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis that is all about how the Devil tempts us, and I've seen how true those tricks are and how well they work on me and those I know. Maybe its from seeing the news (most of which is sad news) on the TV as I run on the treadmill at Snap Fitness. Maybe it's from catching up with old friends and seeing how some of them have fallen away from the path they know to be right. Maybe it's from seeing good, strong, amazing members of the church give in and settle for a lower standard of excellence. Whatever the combination is, I found myself melancholy and overwhelmed with the sheer darkness of the world. Much like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who wrote the above Christmas carol, I thought to myself, "For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men."

But, God is not dead nor doth He sleep. So, that moment of sadness was but a short one. I know that the light of Christ is thousands of watts more brilliant than the the musty haze of the adversary that fogs our vision for a time.

I recently listened to a BYU devotional in which Tyler Jarvis talks about how paralyzing our desire for perfection can be. He quotes Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem.”

Ring the bells that still can ring 
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

That's just it. It seems that there IS a crack in everything. There is evil where we least expect it. There is unwanted weakness in ourselves. 

However, thanks to the Light of the World, that darkness can be penetrated-through and eliminated.  

Our bells are cracked. Yes, as sincere as our desires are to be perfect bells, we are all a little cracked. As much as we all want "world peace," that dream is a little cracked, too. 

But how THANKFUL I am for those cracks! Yes, how thankful I am for the cracks in the world, for the weaknesses, trials, and even the failures. For without the moments of darkness, would we recognize the light? Would we turn to Him? 

The bells that were heard on Christmas day might have had cracks in them, too. But they were ringing because the atonement of Christ makes each of us able to function even though we're imperfect. His light makes this cracked world a world of HOPE. 

"But let us ring those bells that still can ring. Stop worrying about your failure to achieve perfection. Instead, embrace the light and healing power of Christ that come in through our cracks and imperfections." Tyler Jarvis

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