Written by Brian Johnson
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined… For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:2,6
“It’s so dark!”
That’s the refrain this time of year: we look outside in the evening, we see how dark it is, and even though it’s only 5:30, we say, “Oh my goodness, it feels like midnight!” This time of year, I sometimes find myself wondering if it’s OK to go to bed at 8 PM – because, you know, it’s dark, and it feels so late, and sometimes I’m just done. (My children often encourage me to go to bed early, so they can stay up later than I do, but that rarely seems like a good idea.)
Advent is a season that begins in darkness. During Advent, we prepare ourselves to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It’s a time of getting ready – of telling stories, decorating our homes, listening to Christmas music. But Advent isn’t just about the birth of Jesus. During Advent we Christians are invited to prepare ourselves for Jesus entering into our world – not just in the past, when he was born to Mary – but, also in the present. During Advent, we pray for Jesus to enter into our hearts, drawing us closer to God. We pray for God to enter into our lives, teaching us to live the way of love. And, we repeat the biblical promises that Christ will come again – that God will not allow the forces of sin and evil to triumph, that God will not allow brokenness and death to go on forever, that one day God will put all things right, and this world will become what it was always meant to be.
Advent, in short, is a time when we tell the story of God’s light in the midst of the world’s darkness. During Advent, we repeat the Good News, as it’s put in John’s Gospel, that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness could not overcome it.” The darkness of sin, death, despair, violence, and hatred do not get the final word. The light of God’s love, the light of life, shines strong, and cannot be overcome.
During Advent, we get to speak honestly about what is wrong with the world. AND, the Good News is that all those things that are broken – all that is wrong with the world – does not get the final say. The final say belongs to God. In the end, darkness does not win. In the end, the light shines.
And, so, during Advent, as the nights get longer, on these days when it’s dark before you even get home from work, remember to look for the light. The candles we will light on Christmas Eve are a reminder that even the darkest days cannot defeat the light of Jesus Christ. Over the next few weeks, may you be on the lookout for signs of light – and when you see them, may you be reminded that God is with us.
If you miss any of our daily readings, you can find them archived here. (Readings will be added each day.) We hope these readings will help you encounter God this season!