This past year I have spent a great deal of time dwelling on Isaiah’s words found in Chapter 9, often repeated around this season:

“The time of darkness and despair will not go on forever…The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness a light will shine.” 9:1a, 2

We tend to find ourselves in two different camps when dealing with our darkness. We ignore it, hoping that if we deny it long enough it will indeed go away, or we set up camp in it by starting to convince ourselves that the world’s present realities are all that there is. Maybe we hover somewhere between the two – we deny the darkness around people, but are consumed by it when we are alone. 

Wherever we find ourselves, one thing we can’t deny is that there is indeed darkness. I try to deny it, but I fail, as I find that the world around us is utterly broken. We face this brokenness on large scales through war-torn countries and political corruption, and on small scales through everyday family conflict, depression, and financial distress. Whatever it might be and however we might feel, we can’t deny that it is ever present.

As we celebrate Christmas, we need to be reminded of the hope Isaiah spoke of thousands of years ago. Our problem of pain and destruction isn’t unique to our current world condition. There has always been darkness, and despite that reality, Isaiah says, “the people who walk in darkness will see a great light.” The dark won’t always win. What seems so consuming, crippling, and all-powerful will one day find its death. It will one day be forced to give way to the light.

In the introduction of his gospel, the disciple John illustrates that this light Isaiah spoke of has come into existence through the birth of Christ. The Light had indeed come and the darkness cannot overcome it (John 1:5). Try as it might, this Light will and does shine through the darkness. We need to remember to lift our eyes to this redeeming hope in the middle of our circumstances.

Like the familiar hymn says, we are reminded that with “a thrill of hope – the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.” The darkness that seems all-consuming flees at the promise of Emmanuel, God with us. Let this be the hope we step into this Christmas season – the hope of Light breaking through our present darkness with the sounds of a baby’s cry. 

So dear believer, wherever you find yourself this season, and whatever darkness you battle that has made you weary, let your weariness rejoice, for a Light has dawned that the darkness cannot overcome. 

-By LilyAnn Matchett, CRA Student Chaplain