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Advent Reflection: Hope In The Darkness

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The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. [...] For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. - Isaiah 9:2, 6-7

The beginning of the Christmas season is marked by anticipation and busyness in our homes and hearts. We have presents to buy, decorations to put up, and parties to attend. Nostalgia takes hold, and we long for a specific feeling we can never quite recapture. If we’re honest, we may even be looking to that sentimental feeling of Christmas to rescue what has been an indisputably tough year. We’ve experienced darkness in many realms: a global pandemic, increased financial instability, heightened racial tensions, and a polarizing election. In the midst of this turmoil, it’s easy to feel a jaded hope for the future. 

Yet into the darkness that has defined 2020, we have hope because Christ the Light has dawned. In the darkness of Isaiah’s time, the prophet looked 700 years into the future and said, “the people walking in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2). That light came in the person of Jesus, the child born to us, God incarnate. Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor, the one who walks with us through conflicted political messages with eternal wisdom. He is the Mighty God, the one who is stronger than a pandemic, fully capable of providing for our needs. He is the Everlasting Father, the one who never leaves us alone, not even in quarantine. And he is the Prince of Peace, the creator of a peace that transcends all the circumstances of this difficult year. 

How hopeful!

But the prophecy is not yet completely fulfilled; God has still to come and rule on earth in a government and peace that will not end (Isaiah 6:7). We have yet to experience unending justice, righteousness, and peace. So as we celebrate Advent individually and as a church, we look forward not just to the birth of a child in a manger but to the return of the king. 

Hope has come; the light has dawned. Full day is coming. So prepare him room!

 

In the darkness a blazing light,
To the hungry the words of life!
His kingdom now is near
To those with ears to hear!

Prepare him room!
Prepare him room!
Let the king of glory enter in.