In the beginning there was a voice, the Creator. “Let there be light.” and he separated the light from the darkness and there was morning and there was evening for the very first time (Genesis 1). This same voice breathed out the little lights to govern the night; because even in the darkness, He provides the light.
There was a promise made under those same stars, even after everything went wrong and we decided the Creator, the Light-maker, was not worthy of our trusting obedience. So darkness broke open with separation and death…but the Light continued to shine. He continued his long-range plan to separate the light from the darkness. The same God who created the stars and man, used the same voice with which He calls out the lights by name to speak that promise under the stars of a blessing for all (Genesis 15).
We, the created, continued to walk in darkness as slaves to sin and the same voice spoke as light shown from a bush that would not burn up and another promise was made in the darkness (Exodus 3). That same promise-keeping, light-breathing, Creator made a way in the wilderness with a pillar of light to guide as sin sent us wandering (Exodus 13)
Never once did He intend for us, the promise-receivers to be alone. Never once. So in His long-term plan to separate the Light and the darkness, He sent the best He had. He sent Himself, the only Son He had, fully God and fully man to us. Light came, born in darkness into the middle of darkness, under the same stars of promises centuries before, to redeem every one of us and so to separate us from the darkness once and for all.
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.
:: Isaiah 9: 2 ::
Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
“I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
:: Isaiah 42: 5-7 ::
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
:: John 1: 1-5 ::
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you,
that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
:: 1 John 1: 5 ::
Jesus came and made right every wrong that hung like chains on each of us. He came with grace so weightless, so full of light, it pierced right through the darkest of nights and the darkest of hearts, filling every single inch with everlasting, never-ending, chain-breaking grace!
Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. “While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light”….”I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me will not remain in darkness”.
:: John 12: 35-36, 46 ::
Our Savior, the Light, came into our darkness and died in darkness for you and for me (Matthew 27). He took on all the hurt, the shame, the separation, the wrath that was due us because of His great love. This is the hope of Advent; the Light came to save us in the darkest of nights, died and rose in the dawn’s early light. The Father called to each star in the sky, the same little lights he made in the beginning, the same stars he made a promise to Abraham under, the same stars that shone over the very first Advent in Bethlehem 33 years earlier…He called to them as they made way for the greater light, the sun, to dawn and announce the resurrection morning that gives us cause for hope in the second Advent. Jesus, the Light of the world, arose with his face shining like lightning (Matthew 28)!
For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
:: 2 Corinthians 4:6 ::
This Advent season started for me, appropriately enough, in a waiting room. There, we prayed to the God of Advent, who spoke the light into being, the God who breathed out stars and came to be Emmanuel, God WITH us. My dad was about to go under for another heart procedure with a promised more permanent fix.
The night before Advent, I was driving home from some counseling sessions. I make this drive regularly and without much thought. That night was different though. All the sudden, on my right, was a valley of light. Every roof in that subdivision was lined in white lights, like glowing arrows pointed up. Without even thinking about it, I slowed down, took a deep breath and exhaled a whispered, “Thank you.”
In this season when the nights are longest, coldest…He has us intentionally looking for light. Candles, Christmas trees, fire places, all the warmth and light dispelling darkness. This year more than any other, I’m finding myself and the ones I love intentionally scheduling our time to go and look at lights all around us. There is this budgeting of time and making space to seek out light.
That same Light of Advent, shone during our stay in the waiting room for what felt like the longest six hours ever, and led us to fix our eyes not on what is seen in the darkness but what is unseen (2 Corinthians 4). Our hope and prayer is in our Creator who separates the Light from the darkness. He is our, “Hallelujah” in the midst of the waiting, when my hope felt bruised up and my weeping eyes weary, He is always there, doing a new thing.
After those long hours, we met my dad in the recovery room where one of the first things he asked for was for me to play “How Great Thou Art”. As the anesthetic wore off, right there in his hospital bed, the Light of Advent and the lightness of grace so weightless caused a grateful hand to raise, palm open, giving praise and receiving grace.
For you and I this Advent and Christmas, whether in hospital beds or church pews, in the darkest of nights or the lightest of dawns, we can look up and raise our heads, because our redemption is drawing near (Luke 21: 28). Because of our great, unchanging God who separates the Light from the darkness, we can look up just as Abraham did at that star filled sky, just as the wise men did to find the star over our Savior, just as we will when the God of the Second Advent arrives! We look for the Light!
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it,
for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.
:: Revelation 21:22-23 ::
They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
:: Revelation 22: 4-5 ::