19 When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. 21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.
Turn on the news these days and you might be quick to conclude, correctly, that we live in dark and “gloomy” times. Despite the Christmas decorations (some would prefer to call them holiday decorations) that are bursting on to the scene – despite all that light and tinsel – things are pretty dark out there. The threat of North Korean missiles flying through the air, terrorist bombs exploding in public places, all kinds of personal misconduct, public and private, being exposed – financial woes, health problems, poverty, on and on – darkness – everywhere.
But here’s the good news.
Just like Isaiah predicted long ago…
Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—
2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
Light has dawned. It dawned a long time ago. It is still shining in the darkness. It is the light of Christ.
We are entering the season of Advent, that time when Christians all around the world, celebrate the coming of that great, bright, eternal, divine Light.
Life is not easy. It is complex, and messy, and difficult. We try and we often fail. We get tired and discouraged – for good reason.
“Nevertheless,” the scripture says, “there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress.”
In the original context, a great prophet was speaking about the distress his nation faced. But in expanded context, it speaks to our world today. It speaks to you and me today.
Look for the light. Look for the Light. He is still there. His love still shines brightly. He still offers hope, peace, joy, and love. We will light candles representing those gifts to us over the coming Sundays of the month of December.
Come out of the gloom. God’s love is real and it is available for the receiving.
Let the light begin.