An Ah-Hah Moment

Jan 07 2018


“A husband and a wife were living on a houseboat tied to a dock. One night, as they slept, a storm arose causing the boat to break from its moorings and drift out into the open sea. When morning came, the husband rose, went out on deck, and discovered that there was no land in sight in any direction. Excitedly, he called out to his wife, “Get up, quickly! We’re not here anymore.” (The Preachers’ Illustration Service, #1654) Now that is an ah-hah moment!

Don’t we all seem like that sometimes? Don’t we all sometimes look around us and suddenly discover that the landscape, our environment, or anything else that was formerly familiar to us, isn’t there anymore? It’s changed. It’s changed so much that the familiar becomes the dissimilar. What we believed about someone or something has changed so much that nothing seems the same.

How do we handle it? Sometimes we adapt. Sometimes we go off in new directions. Sometimes we try to regain what was familiar, but to no avail. Sometimes, we are simply looking for what we want to find and fail to see what is really there. We are seeking an ah-hah moment to help us cope. But in many cases, it seems that we do not try to seek answers from God. Why is that? Is it that we don’t know how God will speak to us? Is it that we don’t want to hear the answers, that we do not want to take the time and effort to be open to the many ways that God could send answers to us?

Is it that we are so busy trying to keep the door closed to retain what we thought we had that we do not see new doors opening to us? Or is it simply that we are not seekers after truth – the truth about the world around us and the truth about ourselves? Is it that deep down we do not want the truth – we do not want an ah-hah moment because we do not want to deal with all that it might signify?

The three wise men symbolized seekers after truth. They searched the heavens using astrological patterns and astronomy. They searched the ancient texts to see what did or did not apply to the present, or possibly, to the future. But most of all, they searched for the truth. And in our search for answers, for our own personal truths, we should be searching for that ah-hah moment when all becomes clear to us.

When Herod found that they were seeking a new king, he, too, wanted to know where this new king was, but not because he wanted the truth; it was because he wanted to retain his power. And doesn’t that happen often when we are dealing with persons in authority – they are more concerned with power and expediency than with what is right and what is truth?

Last week we talked about our responsibility to reach out to others. That can sometimes be very hard to do. It necessitates that we put our understanding of someone else, the needs of someone else, before our own needs. It means that we need to listen to someone else in order to be able to truly communicate with them. Ultimately, it means putting ourselves into someone else’s shoes and trying to see the world or the issue at hand from their eyes.

Herod was seeking. The wise men were seeking. The many people who listened to Jesus as he grew and matured were seeking. And we are still seeking.

The festival of Epiphany, besides celebrating the visit of the three kings, is also the festival of light. While we celebrate the gift of light at Epiphany, that light must shine to us and through us throughout the year. Jesus used the metaphor of “being the Light of the world.” Light has at least one special quality – darkness cannot live in the presence of light. If we look around us, we can find all sorts of examples of darkness, but where is the light? We have wars, death, natural disasters, sickness, violence and killings in our own communities. Where is the light in those? Who will bring that light?

We hear rhetoric, but see no meaningful action. It’s as if we are living under a cloud of darkness and no one has the courage to part the clouds, ask why they are there, or to try to bring light into the darkness. While we may not be able to affect major changes around us, we can affect major changes within us that will affect how we deal with the darkness around us. We can bring light into our own lives and the lives of others by carrying the light of Christ in our hearts and by letting that light shine in our actions so that others can find a little light in their lives.

Yeas ago an unknown writer penned these words:

"When the song of the angels is stilled,

when the star in the sky is gone,

when the kings and princes are home,

when the shepherds are back with their flocks . . .

it is then that the work of Christmas begins:

to find the lost, to heal the broken,

to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner,

to rebuild the nations,

to bring peace among all peoples,

and to make music in the heart."

That is our Christian calling – to make a difference in the lives of the people around us - to bring light into the darkness around us. To affect the world around us as if we constantly remember the gift of the Christ Child, as if we remember his words and his teachings of love and compassion, as if we are trying to be a Christ to others.

It has often been said that it is through helping others that we can find our own paths, our own truths. It is through helping and loving others that love opens up to us. And sometimes, it is through helping others that we can find our own ah-hah moments

We are human beings who will make mistakes, who will make bad choices, and who will get into difficult situations, but the biggest gift God gave us was Jesus, because through him we realize that even if we are fallible, we are also loved and forgiven. Let us carry that gift with us throughout the New Year and the light of Christ will shine brightly in our hearts and in our lives. Amen