Today's Reading: Isaiah 9:2 (NIV)
Have you ever found yourself in total darkness? Can you recall a time when it was so dark that you could not see your hand even when you held it up in front of your face? In that moment, how did you feel? Helpless? Alone? Afraid? Do you remember how badly you craved the light?
The prophet Isaiah lived about 700 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. God assigned Isaiah the task of calling Judah, Israel, and the surrounding nations to repent of their sins, return to God, and prepare for the redemption that would only be found in Jesus Christ. In a time of great darkness, Isaiah proclaimed that God would send a great light who would shine on everyone and deliver people from the slavery of sin and darkness.
Several years ago on a night run through the Grand Canyon, I experienced the powerful contrast between light and darkness. As my friend and I ascended the South Kaibab Trail out of the canyon around 3:00am we were surrounded by complete darkness. With the expanse of the canyon all around us it was as if darkness was above, below, and on either side of us as we ran along a narrow path over exposed ridgelines. Only the faint glow of our headlamps seemed to light the steps directly in front of us as we climbed up toward the rim of the canyon over 4,000 feet above. In those moments, darkness seemed to dominate our surroundings.
After running through the night, I will never forget the beauty we experienced shortly after 6:00am as we reached the south rim of the canyon. Suddenly on the horizon the sun began to appear and flood the canyon with the warmth and light of the morning sunrise. It was as if everything came to life and the darkness was forced to hide. The sunlight allowed the awe-inspiring beauty of the Grand Canyon to be on full display!
As we enter into the first few days of the Advent season, how would you describe your walk? Are you living in “the land of deep darkness"? If so, ask Jesus to illuminate the darkness in your life. Ask Jesus to bring His empowering presence into your life, your marriage, your relationships, and your community and nation. Ask Jesus to use you to display His light in every conversation, Christmas party, or family gathering you attend this season.