The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.
As I write this it is still dark outside. I can’t see out the window – my own reflection stares back at me. I turned the light on when I woke and it took about a minute to get used to the light. When you are used to the darkness, simply basking in the light and appreciating it is not always immediate! We have to acclimatise and grow used to it, our eyes adapt.
That is the first picture for me in this passage from Isaiah: disorientation.
There is a wonderful Psalm (130) that begins “out of the depths” and, some mornings, it feels like that is where I am being dragged from as I surface in to the morning . . . that still isn’t light yet! The psalm goes on to say, “I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning.” There is a sense with Isaiah of something breaking, something slowly becoming clear, something (or someone) shifting into view and as eyes become accustomed to the light, hope is born as the light dawns!
The second picture then for me is about waiting.
Those watchmen, how desperate must they have been to see the first break of light creep over the horizon, their shift would nearly be over! Done with the waiting! Those people, staggering around in darkness, then staggered by a great light – adapting to a new way of being and seeing.
As we approach Christmas through the season of Advent it can sometimes feel (at least to me) that as I consider Jesus, the light of the world, my own little world is thrown into confusion, I am disorientated, until my eyes begin to focus and I become accustomed to seeing things again through the lens of the Christmas story and Jesus’ birth.
As we approach Christmas I can also find myself thinking ‘will it ever arrive!’ The build up starts in August, never mind Advent . . . slowly, we get there . . . the journey to Bethlehem was not a 30 minute Easyjet hop!
Yet, each dawn through Advent we might remember this passage from Isaiah, as sure as day follows night we can put our hope in the coming King. The darkness will be vanquished, the dawn will break and Jesus, the God man, will be here – the hope of the World.
Ali is married to the lovely Lisa and has two amazing daughters. When not hanging out in a caravan with his family, Ali runs “The Resource” which is aimed at equipping, supporting and encouraging those who work with children, young people and families in the church and community. Ali is passionate about seeing this generation reached with the Good News and equipped to live life to the full – John 10:10! Find out more here:
Our bible passage today talks of ‘joy’ or ‘rejoicing’, four times in just a few lines. So often when we feel stuck in the darkness we are robbed of our joy. Who do you know who needs to be refilled with joy today? How can you help them to rejoice today?