We’ve made it beloveds! Countdown to Christmas and we’ve come to the last Advent candle (okay, Christmas Eve to go, but you know what I mean): LOVE. Such a powerful word so full of meaning. And the subject of so many stories… but I thought I’d share this one I found. It’s a true story about a man named Dashrath Manijhi who lived in a small village in India, who managed to carve his way into the history books — literally.
Dashrath was born in 1929 into a poor family. As a young man, he had his eye on a pretty girl named Falguni Devi, but she was beyond his caste and “out of his league”. Her father refused to let the two marry. Yet, love is a stronger force than man-made prejudices, and the couple ran off and married alone, and raised two children near the base of a giant mountain. One day when Falguni was walking along the rocky edge of the mountain carrying a meager lunch for her day labourer husband, she slipped and fell and seriously injured herself. Her beloved husband rushed to her aid and made the incredible journey around the mountainside to the only hospital nearby. Unfortunately, the journey was just too long and Falguni succumbed to her injuries and died.
Dashrath was obviously devastated and vowed to “move a mountain” in response. Like Noah building an ark in the middle of a drought, he was mocked and ridiculed for chiselling his way through the rocky mountain, forming a direct route to the neighbouring town’s hospital! Dashrath attempted to seek help from India’s government at one point and took a train to Delhi to meet with leadership and plead his case, but was kicked off the car because he didn’t have a paid ticket! Legend says he walked the remaining 1000km. It took 22 years (from 1960-1982) to single-handedly carve his way through the mountain, using only a chisel and hammer, but the “mountain man” eventually created a path 360 feet in length, 30 feet high and 25 feet wide. Because of his determination and love for his wife, the distance between the districts of Atri and Wazirganj has been reduced from 55 km to a mere 15km. A gate marks the original pathway carved “with love”.
And so we reflect on the final advent candle. A powerful reminder of God’s love for a broken world. A love so deep He sent His only son to earth to heal our brokenness. This is what Advent anticipation is … waiting for the Savior to arrive. Our paths were not promised to be easy. There are falls, hurts, and even death along the road, but love makes a way. He chisels through our hardened hearts and quickens the path to safety. As we enter the final countdown to Christmas, let us be reminded that this season is not about trees, presents and good food (as much as I love good food!) it is truly about God’s love for us. Be blessed!