Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Monday, November 30
By Thomas Stubbs
We Begin in Darkness
Read Isaiah 9:2
“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.” (ESV)
This Word, spoken by the prophet Isaiah twenty-seven hundred years ago and long read in the Christian tradition as a foretelling of Christ’s coming, keeps me mindful of two things. First, that the season of Advent begins in darkness, and second, that it doesn’t end there. It can’t, because the people of God are on the move, walking in darkness, journeying through it, following a light that interrupts the darkness and refuses to let it have the last word. Though the path is not always clear, by the grace of God we find our stumbling way to the manger, guided by the Christmas star as it shines from its perch in the inky black sky.
To whom was that star leading those who followed it then, and where is it leading those who follow it still? It leads to a child, born to us (Isaiah 9:7). To all of us, for in him is life itself, life which is the light of all people, a light that shines so brightly that the darkness did not, cannot, will not overcome it (John 1:5). This child, this Jesus, invites us to journey with him this Advent season. It’s a challenging invitation because it means we must turn to face the reality of darkness. But it is also a gracious invitation because it means we no longer have to face that reality alone. We have a companion, a light source, whom the darkness cannot overcome. Thanks be to God for that.
Illuminating God, whose light breaks through the darkness in which we so often find ourselves, encouraging us to continue feeling our way through a darkened world: we pray for the courage to keep moving, secure in the knowledge that through your Son Jesus Christ you have promised to be our constant companion, our advocate and guide, our stronghold and our sure defense. And having beheld the light of your mercy, we pray that, like John, we would be moved to testify to your light, so that all might feel the warmth of your redeeming love, for the honor of your holy name. Amen.
Thomas Stubbs is a ministerial student at Duke Divinity School.