It was a great privilege to be in "King Island Christmas" this year. I want to express my deep thanks and appreciation to the directors, the cast, the musicians, those behind the scenes, and to each person who participated in the production as well as to those of you who were able to come and watch. As the words of the first song state it truly was "our Christmas gift to you."
For me, it was a special gift to play the role of Father Carroll. In King Island Christmas, Father Carroll sings two songs, "It's Love" and "The Miracle of Light." I believe both of these songs speak in powerful ways of God's love for us. "The Miracle of Light" begins with the words, "We light a candle on Christmas night. We light a candle to celebrate the miracle of light." The miracle of light is essential because we live in a world filled with darkness.
The prophet Isaiah wrote, "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who live in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined" (Isaiah 9:2). Isaiah points us to the realities of darkness and light. On Sept. 11, our nation was brought face to face with darkness. In fact, on that clear morning in New York City the blue skies suddenly became dark as the Twin Towers imploded causing a mass of debris and ashes turning a once bright morning into chaos, death, and darkness.
According to R.C. Sproul, some religions believe in an eternal dualism in which the whole universe operates in some kind of oscillation between the two poles of good and evil symbolized by the images of light and darkness. Dualism says that these two polar opposites are locked in some kind of eternal conflict with neither ever gaining the upper hand. Sproul states and I affirm, "Dualism is totally opposite to what is taught in the Christian faith. While the Bible talks of evil as darkness, the Devil is the prince of darkness. Never does Biblical Christianity affirm dualism as if we are locked in a struggle of equal and apposing forces. Satan is a creature not the Creator. Satan is no match for God." We believe the darkness can not possibly conquer the light of God's love in Jesus Christ.
The Gospel of John teaches that Jesus Christ is the light of the World. The light of God's great love! The Bible says, "In him (Jesus) is life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it" (John 1:4,5). Jesus said, "I am the light of the World. Those who follow me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12). Jesus is the light that can overcome our darkness.
The Song "It's Love" speaks of the witness of love expressed in the hearts and lives of the people of King Island as they risked their lives to carry an oomiak over the mountain (King Island) to the lee of the Island in order to have Father Carroll with them.
God loves us so much that God became one of us in the real person of Jesus Christ. God risked the birth and death of his own Son that we might be with God. The darkness tried to overcome the life and light of Christ on the cross, but death and darkness could not conquer the love of God! In Christ, life has the final word. In Christ, God's love is poured out for us in the forgiveness of our sins that we might live not in the darkness of sin, but in the light of God's love. We find our peace and calm not in the lee of an Island, but in the gift of Jesus Christ.
This is what we celebrate at Christmas, the triumph of light over darkness, the triumph of love over hate. We celebrate the truth of Christ and God's Word over darkness, falsehood and lies. We celebrate the gift of God's love for us in Jesus Christ.
I pray this Christmas you might open your heart to the gift of God's love and light in Jesus Christ. Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks, all you have to do is open your heart and Christ will come in. (Revelation 3:20; John 3:16). We light a candle on Christmas night. We light a candle to celebrate the miracle of Christ.
Rev. Steve Olmstead is pastor of Chapel by the lake.