Monday, December 22, 2008

The Light

For unto us a child is born,
unto us, a son is given,
and the government shall be upon his shoulders.
And his name, shall be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God,
the Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
One of my childhood Christmas memories is singing this song with my sister. It’s part of the Hallelujah chorus. I don’t think we ever said, “This is my favorite Christmas song,” but we both kind of knew it was and would look at each other whenever it played or just launch into singing it while driving in the car.

This advent I have been preaching from Old Testament prophecies using the theme: “God Keeps His promises”. In Isaiah 9 before “our song” is a remarkable prophecy about Jesus bringing light:
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of darkness
a light has dawned.
Darkness. It would be difficult living in darkness, waiting, confused, lost, wanting to see a glimmer of light. If just a little light appeared, people couldn’t help but turn and look at it. “What is that?” they would say. They couldn’t ignore it. It would be a compelling force, because people WANT to see. Most people. Some people who are in the dark don’t even know it. Darkness becomes habitual. It helps to conceal what they are doing. They think they are getting away with something that they couldn’t get away with in the light.

The people of God had lost their way. They had a list of rules. They had some stories that they would tell traditionally every year, but they were still way off the path.

When I was telling this story in church, I asked, “What is the Great Light that Isaiah prophesied about?” Several shouted out; JESUS! Then Miguel added, “Jesus lights our path so we know the way to God.” Yes, Yes, Yes. We don’t have to stumble around and lose our way. Jesus is the great flashlight.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world;
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
—John 8:12

Light. It gives us warmth. It helps plants grow. It enables us to do our work. But most importantly, the light of Jesus shows us The Way. May you glow with the Light of the One, the long awaited, promised, Prince of Peace.