In 1933 Dietrich Bonhoeffer was pastoring two congregations in London. He preached on the First Sunday of Advent about a miner that had been trapped underground in a mining accident. Traditionally on the First Sunday of Advent, the Candle of Hope is lit. About the trapped miner Bonhoeffer was preaching on hope.
Trapped deep underground the miner had hope that his fellow miners above ground would be able to find him. Above ground, the miners hoped that the trapped miner was alive. The rescuers acted on their hope by starting to dig. Trapped in total darkness, the trapped miner began rationing what little water he had with him in the hope that it would last long enough. The rescuers were moving earth and rubble as quickly as they could knowing that time was the essence. The miner underground waited patiently in darkness mentally keeping his hope alive.
In the dark tunnel, the miner could feel the air getting heavier. He was afraid to fall asleep afraid he would not wake up if he did sleep. After a couple of days, he drank the last of his water. Now it was only time before he would die if his rescuers did not find him. When a person loses all hope the next thing that that happens is despair. The miner underground was very thirsty. His hope that he had maintained began to fad and depression crept in. He closed his eyes and fell asleep sure he would not wake up.
He did not know how long he had been asleep when he heard a noise. It was a drill bit punching a hole through the wall in the tunnel where he was trapped. He heard a voice calling his name. He got a close to the hole as he could and shouted back. The sound from the other side of the wall said, “Hold your head up, we will have you free soon.” The trapped miner’s despair disappeared, and his hope was renewed.
Just over two thousand years ago on a cold night outside of Bethlehem, God punched a hole in the wall that separated Him from His children. Humanity was trapped in a tunnel with hope almost gone. Through that hole, the angels sang through, ““Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God. They said: “Praise God in heaven! Peace on earth to everyone who pleases God.”” (Luke 2:13–14, CEV) Humanity in its despair now has a renewed hope, and all despair is gone.
The church is blessed in it’s calling to continue singing the Christmas Song as the angels did. In our county, some people feel trapped underground with all hope gone. For those of us above ground, we need not feel to them to dig themselves out of their despair. It is time for those who know God’s grace to pick up a shovel and start digging. Those trapped can be rescued if the rescuers do not give up hope.
Blessings Pastor Mick