Advent Week 3 | "Out of Darkness"
2 The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
3 You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
4 For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
We are a people familiar with darkness.
Some of us remember it. There was once a time when we were enveloped by it, grasping desperately around us for something to hold onto, something to ground us, something to help us see. We remember the cold emptiness of hopelessness. We remember how joy flitted around us, seeming to fill the hearts of everyone but us. We remember wondering if there was any end to this.
Some of us walk with it still. Whether blinded by our own selfishness, overwhelmed by the weights of life, fearful of what lies ahead, or anything in between, we stumble as well, trying to find a lamp that will show us a path of peace. Our sighs are heavy, almost as if we are trying to exhale the burden and breathe in something fresh, new, hopeful. We wonder what it’s all for – what is the gain from all of this?
We have “walked in darkness” and have “dwelt in a land of deep darkness.”
And yet, we are tenderly reminded of the advent, the arrival, of the light of the world. We, the people who know darkness, have a great light to behold; upon us a light is now shining.
This advent will bring freedom where there is bondage to sin and enemy. This advent will bring joy where there was mourning and loss.
For we look to the arriving child, the child who will not remain in such a humble state, but will grow into a Wonderful Counselor, a Mighty God, and Everlasting Father, a Prince of Peace.
Peace, righteousness, and justice will be the themes of his reign, and one day darkness will be but a memory as we spend forever in the light of his presence.
This is our present hope. Though there was once darkness, we have seen light. Though we still walk in shadows, one day every corner of our lives and hearts will see the loving light of the Holy One.
This is why we celebrate the Advent of Christ. May we rejoice: though we have known darkness, we know an even greater, enduring, powerful light that will forgive, guide, and fill us forever.