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Advent Day 9

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A Light...

Scripture: John 1:1-9 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John.  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.

Devotional: One of my favorite things about the Bible, is how often metaphors are used so that the truth of a passage might penetrate deeply into the heart of the reader.  Jesus also often spoke in parables and with metaphors, that His hearers might understand. 

We all can understand light and darkness. Whether it’s literal, emotional or spiritual, the contrast is tangible.  In yesterday’s passage we saw Isaiah the prophet testifying of the Light that would come into the world.  In today’s passage, the apostle John writes of John the Baptist, who is testifying 700 years later to that same Light who has now come and would soon be revealed.

This passage clearly shows the origins of Jesus, the Word, who was with God in the beginning and through whom all things were made. You may recall that light was the first occurrence in the creation event recorded in Genesis 1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”  It shows Him as being the source of all light; Jesus in His deity creating all things, Jesus in His humanity, redeeming His creation. 

In verse 5 we see an important reminder:  the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.  What hope that truth brings!  No matter how dark darkness is, it will never overcome the Light.  Albert Einstein once said, “Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present.”  Darkness does not dispel light, it is light that dispels darkness. 

So consider today, and ruminate this week upon the impact of Light in the world and in your life.

Reflect:

  • How have you been impacted by the Light of Jesus?

Advent Day 8

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A Light...

Scripture: Isaiah 9:2  The people walking in darkness will see a great light. The light will shine on those living in the land of darkness.

Devotional: Darkness.  How many of us, living in a civilized society, ever really experience this?  I remember years ago, I had an opportunity, while on vacation, to visit a deep cave into which we deeply traversed. There were lights to guide our way, but at one point we stopped, and the guide extinguished all light.  We stood in total silence, absolutely void of any hint of light. I have never seen or felt the magnitude of cold darkness as I did that day.  There were no shadows, no sense of depth, no ability to even see my hand in front of my face – I finally understood pitch black. 

This experience gives me some frame of reference for today’s passage. Isaiah the prophet speaks to the people of Israel who are in the midst of incredible spiritual and physical darkness because of their disobedience to God. The kingdom of Israel is divided, eventually to be conquered completely and displaced, enslaved, and oppressed- far from the life they had been given in the Promised land.

It’s hard to imagine, as we live in one of the most affluent countries in the world, the kind of collective darkness that results as a nation is driven from their home, oppressed and enslaved by their enemies. Even though many of us have walked through personal darkness beyond what we could ever have fathomed, this kind of collective darkness is something wholly different.  Much like what I experienced in that cave – a pitch blackness beyond imagination.

It’s into this kind of darkness that God speaks through Isaiah, promising a Light that would come.  For today, let’s just sit in that for a moment.  In the midst of pitch blackness, what kind of hope would that promise bring?

Reflect:

  • Reflect upon the closing question. In pitch blackness, how desperately would you long for light?

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