Advent soberly acknowledges the darkness in the world. We are reminded of wars and rumors of wars, disease, death, and despair. How are we to walk forward?
A mother asked her young son to go into the dark of night and shut the barn doors. The son protested that it was too dark and scary and that his flashlight didn’t shine all the way to the barn. His mom then said, “Just walk to the end of the light.” If he kept walking to the end of the light, he would safely arrive at the barn.
During the Advent days of life, if we keep walking to the end of the light we have, we can see shades of life, hope, resolve, grace, and peace. Isaiah kept walking to the end of the light and envisioned a world of joy—as an abundant harvest or the close of successful battle. God is coming with justice and righteousness to shatter the yokes and burn the boots of warriors. Isaiah kept walking to the end of the light, and there he perceived that God would save the world in the most surprising and disarming way. A new heir is coming: “A child is born to us, a son is given to us, and authority will be on his shoulders” (ceb).
My friend Bill Dockery wrote the following: “God rights our wrongs, not with the power of the rushing wind nor with the fury of the pelting rain nor with the fire of lightning. . . . God simply births a child and waits. . . . for each child brings the message that God is not discouraged with us but is still expecting to become incarnate in each human life.”
Not a king, not a warrior—but a child is coming to bring light to our darkness. May we walk in that light.
“O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.” Amen.
Ecstasy over the Christmas miracle is the theme that binds this week’s passages together—unrestrained joy over what God has done and over who God is. These texts celebrate a God who reigns in strength. Yet this God is near and immediate, a participant in the human struggle for light and salvation. As worshipers, we join in rejoicing over the coming of the messenger “who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns’”(Isa. 52:7). We also celebrate “the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth . . . with righteousness, and . . . equity” (Ps. 98:9). Then the note of immediacy is struck by the focus on what God has done just now, in these “last days,” in which “he has spoken to us by a Son” (Heb. 1:2). The One who was present at creation, the eter- nal Word, “became esh and lived among us” (John 1:14).
• Read Isaiah 9:2-7. What or who in your life helps you to continue to walk in the world’s darkness?
• Read Psalm 98. How do you discover hope even in the midst of dif cult times for the earth? How does this hope allow you to shout for joy and sing the Lord’s song?
• Hebrews 1:1-12. Advent reminds us of Jesus bridging the gap between God and humanity. How does this reality change the way you experience the world?
• John 1:1-14. Re ect on the incarnation of God in the form of a baby. In what ways does this in uence the way you see and understand God’s nature?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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