Close to where I live, stands a lighthouse on a group of rocks known as Race Rocks. This lighthouse steers mariners clear of the 8-10 knot (9-12 mph) tide that flows between it and the south coast of Vancouver Island. There are a number of sad tales of ships and lives lost in this treacherous passage of water.
In 1865, lighthouse keeper George Davies and family had for some time been looking forward to a visit from Rosina Davies? brother, sister-in-law, and three friends. On the day of their intended visit, the Davies scanned the nearby shore in anticipation of sighting the boat that would bring family and friends to break the solitude of the lighthouse keeper's family. Sure enough, the visitors did appear as planned, rowing towards their destination, Race Rocks.
When the boat was but 20 feet from its intended landing spot, it came upon a whirlpool and capsized, throwing it's five passengers into the cold, salt water. At the edge of the water, George Davies was helpless. A surveyor was using the keeper's boat and George had been left with neither rope nor life buoy with which to mount a rescue. Quickly, all five were swept away to their deaths. All that was left floating on the surface were some presents that the visitors were bringing with them that tragic day - Christmas Day, 1865.
What a sad story. What a sad picture. We might say, "May nothing like that ever happen again" but the truth is it happens every year on the same day.
All around us, this Christmas, people will start the day with grand goals and plans for celebration. There will be the excitement of gifts to be given and received and the anticipation of visits with family and loved ones. Sadly, the reason for the season - the birth of Jesus Christ - will be forgotten. And at the end of the day, so many folks will still be dead in their sins - a reality that may only fully be seen by the meaningless swirl of possessions that will someday mark the passing of their lives.
This Christmas, let's remember that once, when we were outside of Christ, we were all in the same capsized boat. We were trapped in our sins, separated from God, in an existence that had no purpose or reason. But now, through the birth of that Babe in Bethlehem, our feet have been placed firmly on that Rock who is Jesus. And more so, having been saved, we have the Gospel line we can throw to others who are still caught in the deadly whirlpool of life without Christ.
May we throw that line to many this Christmas. May many take hold of it and live.
Pastor Tim Davis, www.cybersalt.org, copyright 2004
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