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The Second Day of Advent – December 4

But there will be no gloom for those in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined.
Isaiah 9:1-2

Open a door to a dark room and watch how the light rushes into the darkness. So it is with the light of Jesus’ life taking on darkness. That is why Christians have long lit candles for Advent and strung Christmas lights on houses: not just for decoration but also proclamation! Jesus lights up our lives!

Note in today’s scripture that Isaiah sees visions of Jesus lighting up peoples’ lives. Isaiah speaks so assuredly of the Jesus Light coming “in the latter time” that he speaks of it in the past tense: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light”. It is as good as done! Into that very region, first crushed and then humiliated by foreign armies, Jesus of Nazareth shines light. He is, as the Gospel of John victoriously reveals, “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:9).

In the beginning God created the cosmos: “’Let there be light’; and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). So today, in God’s new creation, He commands the saving light of Jesus for all who trust in Him: “For it is God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Perhaps you have seen in your own life and the lives of others how the Jesus Light transforms. Alfred Delp was a German priest and philosopher awaiting execution for leading resistance to Hitler and helping Jews escape. But he wrote of the light of Jesus in his dark, cramped prison cell:

“I see Advent with greater intensity and anticipation than ever before. Walking up and down in my cell, three paces this way and three paces that way, with my hands in iron and ahead of me an uncertain fate, I have a new and different understanding of God’s promise of redemption and release…There shines on us the first

mild light of the radiant fulfillment to come…The promises of God stand above us, more valid than the stars and more effective than the sun. Based on these promises, we will become healthy and free, from the center of our being. The promises have turned us around and, at once, opened life out into the infinite.” (Eberhard Arnold, Christoph Blumhardt, Alfred Delp, When the Time Was Fulfilled: Christmas Meditations)

Alfred Delp could have been speaking for many followers of Jesus in their darkest times: “There shines on us the first mild light of the radiant fulfillment to come.” Many years ago, the light of Jesus shone for me at my young and dying wife’s last Christmas with us. Jesus’ presence during those days helped me to understand that Christmas is not just about presents, decorations, and parties, but all about the Jesus Light.


Gracious God, You so loved the world that you gave Your only begotten Son to be born into our darkness and be our Light. For some the holidays will be difficult, so lead us to someone needing encouragement, perhaps a phone call, a written note, or listening ear. You who give reward to Your martyrs and heaven’s rest to the saints, shine on those today who suffer persecution for Jesus’ sake. In the strong name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

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