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Summary: God came down - into the darkness of the world, where many people live without hope. God provided a way out and his name is Jesus. When we are ’in’ Jesus we are being saved. The rescue of the Chilean Miners is a modern parable that illustrates this truth.

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Jesus told some of the most wonderful stories to help people get to know what God is really like.

What a year it’s been! My football team got relegated, we’ve got a coalition government for the first time since the 2nd World War, England flopped out of the World Cup, a volcanic ash cloud disrupted flights, we had the terrible Haiti earthquake, Prince William announced his engagement to Kate Middleton, Matt Cardle won X Factor 2010; and you know the story; on 5th August this year the San Jose copper mine, in the Atacama Desert in Chile collapsed. 33 men were trapped in darkness. The world and their relatives feared that there was no hope. The depth of the mine, the lack of food and water, and the absence of any signs of life all pointed to a terribly sad end.

But after signs of life were detected, an audacious rescue attempt was launched. Starting from the surface of the desert during bright daylight, drills began to bore a narrow hole down into darkness.

After meticulous planning, but recognising many risks, a rescue capsule called Phoenix was sent down into the depths to rescue the 33 men.

[Note to the reader: At this point I showed a video that I cobbled together using some news feed and the chorus of the Matt Redman song ’You alone can rescue’. The link for my video is: http://www.youtube.com/user/ChristChurchTV?feature=mhum#p/u/6/OySjXnE8MUc ]

One by one the men stepped into their rescue capsule and they were delivered to the surface to shouts of jubilation and joy. They had been feared dead, but every man that stepped into the capsule was saved, alive and well.

Have you ever paused to ask, “Why Christmas?”

After meticulous planning, and very aware of the risks, God launched an audacious rescue attempt. For many people life can seem dark and without hope – a bit like being trapped in a mine; so the message of Christmas is that God came down from above into the depths of this world to rescue us. Jesus is the rescue capsule; and when we place ourselves into his care he lifts us up, inch by inch, moment by moment, in order to save us.

When the miners emerged from the mine did you see the T-shirts they were wearing? The logo on the front said ‘Gracias Senor’ which means Thank you Lord!

On the left sleeve was the word ‘Jesu’ – Jesus; and on the back, in Spanish, were these words: ‘In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also’ (Psalm 95:4). The T-shirts were a gift to the miners once it was heard that many of them were seeking God from the depths of the earth.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas full of festive fun, seasonal safety and Christmas cheer; but above all I pray that you will know the love of the saviour Jesus who descended into our world to save us.

Amen.


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