It’s always darkest before the dawn. The familiar clich has the ring of truth. But Isaiah’s vision proclaims the reverse.
Ever since God’s first spoken word initiated the creative evolution of the cosmos (Genesis 1:3), the eternal light of God’s glory precedes the looming darkness of global instability and personal insecurity overshadowing our world. And proclaiming God’s purpose, promise and power to produce international peace, provide economic prosperity, and protect the human rights of all God’s children, remains the prophetic vocation of God’s new covenant people.
Like the hope reflected in New Year’s resolutions, the light of God’s glory already shines in whatever fear, loss or grief may darken our pilgrimage of faith in the days, weeks or months ahead. Indeed, anticipating the falling darkness of our frail humanity and preparing us to endure our personal dark nights of the soul, God’s Holy Spirit “calls, gathers and enlightens us,” as Martin Luther’s Small Catechism confirms, with the gospel promise of God with us, Emmanuel, in the divine humanity of Jesus Christ, the light of the world.
Gracious God, lighten our darkness of fear, loss and grief by the dawn of your presence in Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Amen. — PL