Advent Devotional: The Light of the World
Devotional Reading – Isaiah 9:2-7
2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. 3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Devotional Thoughts for Meditation
You are all very familiar with this passage already. It has become a Christmas passage. Yet why do we read it every Christmas? What makes it so attractive? Is it just the sweet message that Jesus was prophesied to come? I don’t think so. No, something more than that pulls us back to this text every year. I think maybe it has to do with how the passage starts. Isaiah uses the familiar word picture of Light versus Darkness. The theme dominates much of our culture. The most popular books and movies and songs and plays tell this same story, over and over and over again: Darkness pitted against Light. We are obsessed with the battle between those two apparent, opposing forces. And we wait on the edge of our seats every time the story is told, asking ourselves, “How in the world can Light triumph over the Darkness?”
Darkness covers the land in the passage. In fact, for Isaiah, the darkness is so deep and thick that it would be difficult to see at all. They longed for God to fulfill His promises. So God gave them a picture of the future so bright that their present darkness would seem small. God told them that He was coming to live with them. They wouldn’t have to worry about evil kings anymore, because He Himself would be their king. And His rule over them would never end. People there longed for that Light to come.
We feel the darkness of our land, as well. We long for the light to come. John picks up on the same imagery in the first chapter of his Gospel. “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” We know now that Jesus is the Light Isaiah talked about. He is the Light come down from Heaven. He is Immanuel, the God who is With Us. We know that! But our world still seems so dark, and many times we can’t see the Light; sometimes we feel like the Dark swallowed it up. We wonder, “How in the world can the Light possibly win?”
Sometimes, I need to remind myself how lights work. Lights don’t struggle against the Darkness around them. They simply shine out and overpower the Darkness effortlessly. They light up, and the Darkness simply melts away. One of the reasons I like Christmas lights so much is that they capture this so wonderfully. Think about it. A Christmas light is incredibly small. But when you string them together and turn them on, they shine out, merry and bright in the dark of night. And the darkness can’t overcome even such a weak light. How in the world could it ever overcome the Light of the World?
“The Light shines in the Darkness, and the Darkness will not overcome it,” John tells us. Our Savior was born 2000 years ago, just as prophesied by Isaiah. God brought His Light into the world. And the forces of Darkness arrayed themselves against Jesus, they killed Him on the cross…and not even the Dark of the Grave could hold back the Light of the World! He rose from the Grave and His Light has been rising ever since. Even now He reigns at the Father’s side. It may be hard to see at times, but we know the dawn is coming.
Praise the Lord for sending us His Son, the Light of World. Pray for a loved one that has trouble seeing the Light for all the Darkness; ask God to help them see Jesus as the Light of the World.