When both of my daughters were born, I remember having to take them into a darker part of the hospital room so they could open their eyes to see me. After being in darkness for the first nine months of their lives, the light was blinding to them. Now, years later, neither of them are particularly fond of the dark. They get scared when the lights are out. Without light, they feel abandoned, vulnerable, and endangered.
Four hundred years went by between the ending of the Old Testament’s events and the incarnation of Jesus. Four hundred years of darkness. Like a child in a dark room, God’s people must have felt abandoned, vulnerable, and endangered. God hadn’t sent another prophet, and the Messiah had yet to appear on the horizon. In the meantime, pagan forces had seized their land.
The Bible tells us that when the Father sent the Son into the world, “the true light that gives light to everyone, was coming” (John 1:9). After years of darkness, God spoke, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Israel felt abandoned, alone in silent darkness. But the truth is, the whole world walked in spiritual darkness. There was no hope in sight, but God was working all things for good (Romans 8:28).
It’s easy at times to feel as though you’re walking in darkness. Life is crazy. Work is frustrating. Relationships are strained. And yet, God tells us that the darkness will not last forever. Right here and right now, we can be children of light through faith in Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:5). In the face of Jesus, we see the glory of God. This glory lights up all of creation, and darkness’s only response is to retreat.
One day, Jesus will return and darkness will be eradicated once and for all (Revelation 19-21). All our striving will cease. We hope in that day, while keeping our eyes focused today on God’s goodness to us. Though Satan wants us to keep us in darkness, this Advent we can remember Paul’s words of encouragement found in 2 Corinthians 4:6: “For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Written by Brandon D. Smith