By Ryne Brewer
Growing up, we used to play a game called “night wars.” Essentially it was hide and seek but in the dark. There were teams, a jail for when your team members were caught, and heart-pumping anticipation for when you’d be freed from that jail. There was a thrill to picking the players on your team based on a person’s strategy to not get caught and speed to free others. The game boiled down to one adrenaline-infused moment as team members longed to be delivered by the last person on their team.
This is the thread we see throughout the pages of Scripture. The walls of sin, the bars of death, and the air of exile kept God’s people from their desired freedom. A people bound in captivity, longing for a deliverer.
Then, at last, the fulfillment of the promise, a covenant made with the only person who could set us free. The promise was that even amid evil and exile, God would give His people a “lamp” (2Chronicles 21:7), something to cast the darkness out. This lamp was as certain as day and night. How do we know? The God who raises the sun and hangs the stars made His promise as certain and firm as the created things He set in motion from the beginning (Jeremiah 33:19–26). It was something the people could not change, even with the most preposterous offenses imaginable to their God.
But the anticipation of waiting, confined in the dark and uncertain of the deliverance desired can be excruciating. We express: How long? When will this end? Will God be good on His promise? Then we remember the lamp was lit by a manger. The lamp was promised by God, the only One who can light up the darkness and deliver His people. That lamp was the one least expected but long awaited. He is faithful and true, a King of kings (Revelation 19:11–16), the deliverance of God in the body of a baby. He is Jesus, the Messiah (Matthew 1:17).
Jesus Christ, the bright morning star (Revelation 22:16), was born to deliver His people from the darkness surrounding them. The waiting for deliverance, whether short or long-term, can be stretching. This Advent, wherever we find ourselves in the waiting, let’s remember the promise, and see the lamp shining in the darkness. And as we cling to the promise of God in the dark of uncertainty, pain, or longing this Advent, let’s gaze into the darkness towards Jesus, our deliverer, the light that shines bright; He was born to deliver us. And He surely will!
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