Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light…” Isaiah 9:2
I wonder what it was like walking through days like those. I wonder what it would have been like living in those days where people were depicted as walking in darkness. I wonder if it would be anything like today, because as I sit here this morning that’s all I can see outside my upstairs windows—darkness.
Of course, if my past experiences with mornings are any barometer, they remind me that the sun will, in fact, rise shortly and penetrate the darkness that my eye alone cannot penetrate at this moment. But also, of course, if my past experiences are any indication, I think I have a pretty good idea of what days walking in darkness feel like and look like. We all do.
One might wonder if the darkness of which the prophet Isaiah spoke in the scripture, above, was borne out of despair, economic hardships or oppression. Actually, though, the times in those days about which the scripture speaks—around 700-680 B.C.—were none of those; but instead were fairly affluent times in which the people had experienced relative peace and prosperity. Isaiah himself came from the side of affluence, was well educated, and had influence in all the right places. He lived, as those of his day, in times of wealth and economic well-being, not times of poverty, depression or oppression.
Yet he depicted those times as times of darkness. And for good reason.
They were times when people had forgotten God, where idols and idolatry of many forms and fashion had taken over day-to-day living. Where people had what they wanted and then some. Where temptations were assuaged in nearly every corner of their lives. Where comfort ruled and callousness set in. The times were marked by abuses of power, self-dealing, extortion, drunkenness, idleness and corrupt government. The people of the day had forsaken their God—the one true God—and had sought “refuge” in the things of the world. That is what the darkness looked like—a falling away from the guiding hand of God.
That is why Isaiah was called forth. To issue a clarion call to all who could hear and to all who would listen—to walk—if not run—out of the darkness and into the light. Isaiah was summoned and sent to point the people once again toward the light of God’s Word and to raise in their hearts and minds the expectation and hope of the coming of the Christ—the great Light he inspirationally envisioned and of which he continually spoke.
And here we are today, many years later, and I wonder if we are able to hear that call of the prophet from across the ages. A call crying through the centuries about a Light that is coming again. A Light that will penetrate the darkness of our world and our lives. I wonder if we will or can hear it. I wonder what or to whom we are listening. Whom do we hear speaking? What dials are our television sets tuned to—for ourselves and our families? What do we let into the “doors” of our homes and hearts? I wonder if we will hear that voice from so long ago telling us about a Light that is coming again.
Here we are rounding out of Thanksgiving and heading toward Christmas—and I wonder if we have stopped long enough to ask—headed toward what? What will our experience of the next few weeks be? What will it be like and whom will we share it with? What will we look for? What will our time be spent on in the days heading toward Christmas? More spending sprees as we buy and wrap and send gifts to commemorate the season. More parties laced with temptations and distractions from the Light of which Isaiah spoke. More busyness wrapped in the priorities of the world.
Or perhaps, just perhaps this year, more of those times the prophet calls us to—of walking out of darkness and turning toward the Light—that one true Light. More of those times that should occupy our every waking day of each year of our lives. Perhaps this year we, and those we love, will spend more time with the One the prophet calls out to us about—the great Light—the Light that is Christ.
It’s that time again. It’s time to be reminded again just in case the priorities and busyness of the world has slipped us into a period of momentary darkness—that the Light is still here.
It has always been here for you and for me—but just in case we have lost sight of it in the darkness—the voice of Isaiah calls out to remind us once again of the great Light—the Light of Christ.
That’s what we’re headed toward as we have rounded the bend toward Christmas.
Listen for the voice—look for the Light.
In His Name—Scott