Monday, December 3, 2018

Advent Words: D is for Darkness

D is for Darkness

"The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned."
Isaiah 9:2

In the book of Isaiah we find a prophecy given to God's people in a time of great darkness. God's people had been taken into captivity by the Assyrians and lived in hopelessness and suffering. But Isaiah, the prophet for the Lord, brought words of hope to a suffering people: light would soon shine on them, the Messiah would bring their salvation.

Darkness is often used in the Bible to describe the gloom and despair of those living without the presence and favor of God, of times when God seems far away.  We all experience times and seasons of waiting and longing, seasons of being in the dark, seasons of not knowing which can cause anxiety and fear. At times the world we live in seems like a dark place when things like violence, poverty, war, division, and hatred seem to invade our lives. In the season of Advent we connect with the waiting and longing of a people long ago, while even now we are hoping to find Christ in the midst of the darkness. In a sense we need the darkness in order to help us see the light.

"Because here’s the truth. We don’t realize our immense need and desperate longing for the light unless we’ve first seen the gravity and weight of the inky darkness." Tiffany Stein,

The Advent season leads us through the darkness, pointing us to hope, to the light, in a similar way as the prophets did in the Old Testament. 
  • In Matthew's Gospel he tells us that it is Jesus who has fulfilled the prophecy spoken by Isaiah centuries before (Matthew 4:12-17). 
  • In Luke's gospel, Zechariah prophesied that his son, John the Baptist, would prepare the way for the Lord, "to give the people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace." Luke 1:77-79 
  • When Simeon took the infant Jesus in his arms in the temple he declared,"Sovereign Lord, as you have eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." Luke 2:29-31
  • In John's gospel he shared Jesus' own words, declaring, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light..."

"In one short verse, the entire Gospel and the season of Advent are summed up. We, just like the exiled Israelites who longed for a Savior and King, are a broken and sinful people. We all desperately need healing and redemption from the darkness. And yet, because of who he is and his great love for us, God did not leave us alone in the shadows to try to fight and claw our way out. The Father sent his Son, the light of the world, to redeem us from the darkness and to reconcile us back to himself." Tiffany Stein,

In the darkness, we need the light of the Advent candles to remind us that our Light has come!

Share your creative response to the Advent Words challenge in our private Facebook group  Join here:

If you belong to the Everyday Journal group that I co-lead with Valerie Sjodin and Bernice Hopper, Advent Words will be our theme for December.

Share on Instagram and other social media with the hashtag #adventwords2018.

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