“The Road to Bethlehem” Advent devotion for December 19, 2021. Photo by Thanos Pal on Unsplash
“Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light.”
The road to Bethlehem is dark, but not just because it was night. The unfaithfulness of the people had brought the shadow of God’s judgment on their lives. The darkness of death pursues those who follow the way of sin. Without Christ, every road, every day, and every life is shrouded in darkness.
The prophet Isaiah tells us about the day when all that will change. “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). One day will come when Jesus will say, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
We work very hard to illuminate our world, especially at Christmas. We light up our trees, our homes, and our churches, holding back the darkness that stalks us each night as the sun slips away. For those of us who celebrate the Savior’s birth, these lights reminds us that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. Where God is, there will be light!
If a picture you take on your phone seems too dark, you can always adjust the brightness. A couple of finger movements and it’s just like someone turned on the lights. That’s what Jesus comes to do for us. He turns on the lights, just like God did on the first day of creation. Just like he did when he restored sight to a blind man. Just like he did on the mountain of his transfiguration. Just like he does every day when the sun comes up!
Some days just seem gloomy, don’t they? Overcast mornings with rain in the forecast. Those days when we lost someone, even if it happened a long, long time ago. Days when we have to say goodbye to a loved one. That’s when it’s a good idea to pay attention to the prophetic word, which is like “a light shining in a dark place,” reminding us of the light and the life Jesus brings.
Thank you for the light that shines in Bethlehem, in our world and in my heart. Amen.