(From the heart of Lori Orander)
“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress… The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned . . . For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given…” Isaiah 9: 1, 2, 6
Gloom, distress. What was it like before He came? A land of deep darkness. How dark was the world before the Light of the World came? They were ‘walking in darkness…’ They were walking, living, breathing. But they couldn’t see. Then God. Then unto us…
If Immanuel is God with us, and He ‘was born to us’ that night in Bethlehem, what was life like before that night? Without Immanuel? God not with us? God without us? Us without God.
Yes, there was a people chosen, a tabernacle, a temple where He dwelt among them. But they had to go there to find Him. Walking in darkness. Without God, they journeyed to find God, sacrifices & payment in tow. “And God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself…”
What would it have been like without God-with-us? Without Christ-in-us? No hope of glory. What would my life be like today without His indwelling Spirit? Without the comfort of His presence? The sound of His still voice? How alone would I be? How empty my soul? How lonely my heart? How deep in my sin? How deafening the shame. How deep the darkness. Before the Word became flesh, they had heard no word from God in over 400 years. Captive to Roman rule, a Roman’s every whim…. Living in the shadow of death every day. God’s chosen people under oppression. Gloom. They needed a new Ruler. A new life. God could have destroyed the enemy around them; but He knew he needed to destroy the enemy within. He could have taken them out of the evil they lived in; He needed to take the evil that lived in them out. So like a Trojan horse, he invaded our world & our very lives: “…the Word became flesh and dwelt among us… 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….”
We didn’t need a light to go find. A God to journey to see. We needed a light within. A new light to Be- come. A Light, like fire, to purify the sinner and banish the darkness. A Light to walk by, to live in, to live in us, the Everlasting Light. “For God, who said, ”Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ!”
“Do not be afraid! I bring you tidings of great joy which shall be to ALL people! For unto you is born this day in the City of David a SAVIOR, which is Christ the Lord! And this shall be a sign unto you, you shall find the babe…” No wonder the Shepherds ran! No wonder the Angels rejoiced ! No wonder wise ones traveled from afar following the light that led to the Light of the World! They had known nothing but deep darkness! Gloom, distress! Their light had come! And so had mine! So has yours.
If you are walking in deep darkness, if you know distress today, there is a Light of Love that has come for you. Invite the Light to come in! “Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in!”
“Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel! Rejoice! Rejoice!!”
“Yet in thy dark streets shineth the Everlasting Light, the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight….”
Ask Jesus to speak to you as you finish the sentences, writing in your journal what you hear Him saying, what He whispers to your heart & mind.
“I invite you to come into this area of darkness in my life, this _______”
Thank you that You are the Light that Shines in the darkness, and that the darkness cannot overcome you. By the Light of Your loving presence, where there was nothing but darkness, I now see _______”
“I cannot imagine my life without You. I would be ______________”
Thank you, Jesus, that you came into our darkness and defeated the sin that had separated me from you. Thank you that because you died in my place, then defeated death by rising again, Your light now lives in me by Your Spirit.
“ Because you came, I am now _________________________”