“…the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
We lived on the side of a mountain in Papua New Guinea, well, for that region it is considered a hill. Across from where we lived there are more hills and mountains where hundreds of people live. Even with all these people, the nights are very dark. Often there is cloud cover and there are not street lamps and house lights dotting the mountain side like we find here. Any light at night that comes from those hills is always very visible. During burning season the contrast of the fire to the night is incredible (and for people who have lived in California in dry season, a bit terrifying).
Brian and I were on a walk one night and as we were facing the mountains across the way, from the pitch black night, we saw one light flashing on and off. Because of the contrast of the darkness around it, there was no way to miss it. We found out later that it was one person with a flashlight using it to signal to others. One flashlight. That was it. The dark of the night surrounding that one flashlight was momentarily broken and it was able to catch the attention of people miles away.
The thing about light is that it always pierces darkness.
In our home we have begun the tradition of candle lighting for advent. When we light the candle we reflect on what it meant for Jesus, the light of the world to come to earth. Creator God, willing to take on flesh in order to rescue us from the death and darkness of our own making. Our darkness has been pierced and we have received light and life. We are image bearers redeemed from perpetuating death to once again being able to perpetuate the love and life of our Creator. Around the world and in the most desolate and remote places, this Light is shining and breaking the darkness in the lives of people from all tribes, tongues and nations. This is beautiful and glorious. What has been broken is being redeemed.
This last year has been a difficult, confusing and chaotic one. Many have felt the weight of loss and wondering when things will feel “right” again. As this year draws to a close, we end it with a hope that is sure and a Light that has conquered the dark. In this advent season and this year to come, may the Light that has come, assure your hearts that He has won and the darkness cannot overcome Him. We may not see clearly, but we hold hold fast to the One who knows and sees. Our Light, our Living Hope.
Zechariah’s Song of Praise:
68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a horn[c] of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
72 to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”