When I was young, I remember learning about Helen Keller who was born healthy but suffered an illness when she was about a year and a half old which left her blind and deaf.
She inspired people with her determination and was able to lead a long and meaningful life. Still, it was terrifying to me to imagine being thrust into a world of silence and darkness for my entire life.
Then, I learned more about the senses.
Our ability to smell is weak. Some dogs’ noses are sensitive enough to track a human body riding in a car for miles and miles.
Touch is limited. You can hold a stone in your hand and feel it, but what would it be like to feel the surface of a cell or the texture of a mountain or a planet all at once?
Our sense of taste is limited to only 5 different qualities, the fifth being only recently added.
We hear only a small fraction of sound waves reverberating all around us continually.
Then we come to light. Light makes vision possible.
There is a vast spectrum of wavelengths of light and only .0035% is visible to us. Imagine reducing your current ability to see by 99.9965%. You’d be blind.
We think we perceive and understand the world around us.
I hate to break the news to you, but all of us, right now, is practically blind, deaf, and senseless to the universe we live in. Maybe that’s why our history is so chaotic, just a bunch of people stumbling around in the dark.
We trust so much in our own blindness because, for many, it is all we know.
What would it mean to be able to perceive beyond mortal limitations? The Lord promises us further light if we are willing to receive it.
He said through Isaiah:
Then will I lead the blind by a way they did not know, and guide them in paths unfamiliar; the darkness confronting them I will turn into light, […] O you deaf, listen; O you blind, look and see!Isaiah 42:16 (Isaiah Institute Translsation)
John the beloved testified:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.John 1:1-5 (NASB)
This world is that darkness.
There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.John 1:9-11 (NASB)
The things of God are a great mystery, but not a secret. Who can hear these things? Who can see them?
Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”John 8:12 (NASB)
Isaiah saw a day when:
[…] tyranny shall no more be heard of in your land, nor dispossession or disaster within your borders; No longer shall the sun be your light by day, nor the brightness of the moon your illumination at night: Jehovah will be your everlasting light and your God your radiant glory. Your sun shall set no more, nor your moon wane: to you Jehovah shall be an endless light.Isaiah 60:18-20 (Isaiah Institute Translsation)
… there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ. He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.Mosiah 16:8-9
So much of what we perceive in life, art and music, the brilliant sunsets and lightning storms, the faces of our loved ones, all that richness and variety is perceived through a thin sliver of mortal senses.
In the vast spectrum of history, there was at the center, a thin sliver of light in the form of the son of God.
If many could see that little sliver long before it would ever shine on earth and draw power and glory from it, then why can’t we now?
In darkness, Helen Keller had no way to conceive of the fiery brilliance of the setting sun upon a vast landscape or the shimmering stars and galaxies scattered deep across the vast universe.
Likewise, here we sit in darkness not comprehending the vastness of the light that we are immersed in; literally and metaphorically.
Sin drives us deeper into the abyss where we can feel like lost souls. Damaged beyond repair. Convicted.
One might ask, “With what I’ve done, with who I’ve hurt, with the trail of damage I have left in my wake, how could I ever be forgiven? I’m told it’s possible, but how can I know?”
Author and minister George MacDonald summarized the answer to this question well:
Christ is God’s Forgiveness.Unspoken Sermons, Series 1
See, you have ready been forgiven – for everything. For things past, and things to come. Forgiveness is not something you can earn from God. King Benjamin explained that it’s a debt you could never repay yourself. But it was paid nonetheless.
Christ is God’s forgiveness.
You may not think you deserve such a gift. But this is a good time to remember how blind we all are.
We see a mere sliver of what God sees and the fact that you are here and that Christ is Christ tells us that what he sees is someone worth the price of his Son’s blood. Someone worth creating this world for. Someone here, now, receiving this truth.
Christ is worthy to save, and we are each worthy to be saved.
Are we willing to receive that light by entering the water to be buried in the likeness of His death and resurrection? If you have been, are you just as willing?
Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind (D&C 64:34) with a willing mind, God can do miracles.
This day, let us take this bread as a testimony to our Father that we remember his forgiveness, Jesus Christ, and drink of the cup as a witness to our Father that we’ll preserve his commandments in our lives.
Jesus Christ is the light shining in the darkness. No matter how deep that darkness is, there is no depth that his light cannot reach.
Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.Alma 34:31 (emphasis added)
This Christmas, if you find yourself in darkness, lift up your heads and rejoice. You are seen, you are known, you are cherished because you are here and the Son of God has redeemed you – completely.
This Christmas, “Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him […] and if by the grace of God you are perfect in Christ, you can in nowise deny the power of God.” (Moroni 10:32)
Let us leave the darkness forever and step into the light of Jesus Christ, Amen.