(this is the advent devotional I wrote for our church's advent booklet.)
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. (Read Isaiah 9:2-7)
Every year while on summer vacation, my night owl sister and I share a room. Inevitably I wake up before she wants to even think about morning, and I need to turn on the light to get dressed. So we share my sleep mask. I wear it at night, so my sister can read with a light on late into the night, and in the morning when I want to turn on the light, or open the drapes, I hand the sleep mask over to a groggy form that groans a thanks.
The darkness that Isaiah describes here is not a literal darkness. Sleepy Israelites aren’t waking up to a literal dawn, handing over sleep masks to those too tired to greet the sun. Instead, Isaiah describes people who have been living in the land of the shadow of death. As we read the verses that follow, we see that light is the first of many improvements. Not only can they see, but the light that dawned on their darkness has opened their lives. Each verse describes something better than the next. And in verse 6, a child is born. The poet Carl Sandburg said “a baby is the God’s opinion that the world should go on.” This child is not just ANY child, this is the Messiah, who carries special names: Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace. But none of these improvements could have happened in the dark. The light, first, was the catalyst for changes, after.
God of Light, show us the beginning of your wonderful plan, the plan that started with a baby, your son Jesus.
As far as Christmas preps go, I am SOOOO grateful there is a hockey game on tonight. First intermission: first load of laundry, drop something at Sally's parents' house. 2nd intermission, check on laundry. All the while, I will be listening to Mike Lange and packing for my mini mini vacation down to Virginia. I still have one person to shop for.
1 week ago