Isaiah 9:2. 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.
There’s probably not much worse than being trapped in darkness.
In 1962 a French geologist named Michel Siffre allowed himself to be “trapped” in a underground glacier with no sunlight for two months. No contact with the outside world. No telling time. Just darkness. After two months he was convinced he had only been down there for one month. The darkness had changed his perception of reality. Over time this darkness brings depression, insomnia, hormonal imbalance, and an inability to concentrate.
More recently we all watched nervously when a soccer team of young boys were trapped in the dark in a cave in Thailand? A daring rescue mission was launched because doctors and scientists feared what might happen to the boys if they must wait four months until after the rain waters that were predicted recede. How would the darkness affect them?
If prolonged physical darkness can damage us, then what about spiritual darkness? What effect does it have to live outside of spiritual reality? How long can we go without meaning? Without hope? How long can we search for what alone we can never find?
Much of our day is spent fighting off the darkness. The spiritual darkness. Temptation, misfortune, depression, the absurdity and confusion of life. This is why we spend so much time looking for something to shine a little bit of light into our life. Think about your own life. What are you pursuing that you are expecting to simply keep you from feeling sad or discouraged, or depressed? How much of your day is spent trying to simply feel good? But how many of these things are actually just more of the same darkness? Why? Because they don’t last. They eventually just become another disappointment.
The only thing that can keep the darkness from eventually overtaking any of us is something that overpowers that darkness. Light.
The apocalyptic advent of God has rescued us from darkness. God has broken into our darkness. He has given us a meaning to life. Something beyond us. A hope. A transcendence. Himself.
Isaiah 9:6. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
And now this child, this Light, has once and for all conquered the darkness. This is the apocalypse of Christmas. This is the truth of “to live is Christ.”
What are the ways you try to fight off the darkness in your life? How does union with Christ offer you a light into a reality that can guide your life?