Advent Reflection #9: From Koblenz to Bethlehem



Yesterday, 45,000 residents of Koblenz, Germany–nearly half the city’s population–had to be evacuated from their homes while experts defused a 1.8 ton bomb, embedded unexploded in the mud beneath the Rhine River for nearly 70 years.  A link to the BBC coverage of the story is here.  The story instantly captured my imagination.

The bomb–dropped by the RAF sometime in 1942-1943–was discovered because lower than normal rainfall had resulted in lower than water levels in the Rhine.  And suddenly, there it was for all to see–where it been all along for 7 decades.

This was what fascinated me:  the bomb’s presence wasn’t a new fact; it was an old fact newly seen.  For 70 years the residents of Koblenz had floated in their boats above it, done their shopping, had their picnics, lived in their apartments, pushed their baby carriages, and run their businesses, just a matter of yards from the massive bomb buried in the mud–all well within the destructive radius of this massive bomb.  For 70 years, folks had done all those things and lived as though the bomb wasn’t there, when it had been there all along.

And that, of course, is why city officials issued their evacuation order.  The old fact newly seen of the bomb’s presence had urgent, life-reordering implications.  Destructive implications.  City officials ordered evacuation because, if that bomb exploded, if its power were jolted awake, it would result in the unmaking, the destruction of a great deal of the lives and the living that had come to define Koblenz.

I thought about Christmas as I read this story.

For Christmas, like the Koblenz bomb, is about a power embedded from above in the history of the world.  A power so great that, for 2,000 years, every single moment of every life has been lived in every single place with the radius of its reach.

But, unlike the bomb in Koblenz, this power is not the power to destroy, to unmake, to de-create.  Instead, this power re-constructs, re-makes, re-creates every single life it touches.  And in the end, the entire cosmos as well.  A power massive enough to remake the heavens and the earth.

Also unlike the bomb in Koblenz, this power is a Person, Jesus Christ, who willingly hurled Himself from heaven into our history.  I spent the first 19 years of my life too busy, too self-absorbed, and too self-righteous to recognize that I was living my life within reach of the glorious power of Christ.

I thank God that He opened my eyes to see the goodness and power of Jesus Christ.  When the truth about who He was and what He did was brought into the light for me, absolutely everything changed.  I thank Him for that mercy again today, and pray that this Christmas will be for you a season of uncovering the power of Jesus Christ and His Gospel to make all things new, even you!

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