Saint Mark Daily Advent Devotional – December 24, 2014
by Pam Buzbee
Scripture: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” (Isaiah 9:2)
Darkness. Recently, I keep seeing this word. It is in one of the Lectionary readings for today. There is a book that is popular now by Barbara Brown Taylor called Learning to Walk in the Dark. We are just past the winter solstice, December 21st, the shortest day in the year, the day with the most darkness.
So what’s with all this darkness? We talk about “dark times in our lives.” People are “afraid of the dark.” There are “dark” movies. We never think of dark as being something “good” or anything that we seek. Even God decided to create light out of darkness. We leave nightlights on when we go to bed-or if not, we have so many electronic lights that our rooms give off a green glow. We’re never really and truly in the dark. We can’t even see the stars well for all of our city lights.
No one knows the actual date of Jesus’ birth. We celebrate it on December 25th, some think to counteract the pagan winter solstice celebrations. But there is a beautiful irony to this date being chosen. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.” (John 8:12)
The traditional birthdate for John the Baptist is June 24th, which is right at the summer solstice, the day in the year with the most sunlight. Speaking of Jesus, John said, “He must increase and I must decrease.” (John 3:30). How fitting that John was born at the time when the daylight would begin to decrease and Jesus was born when, every day, there would be more light.
Maybe we need to have darkness in order to appreciate light. Maybe we need to remember that Jesus was coming into the world to give “sight to the blind . . . and bring those who live in darkness out of dungeons.” (Isaiah 42:7). Maybe tonight, Christmas Eve, will be the beginning of more light in your life.
Prayer: Lord, for those of us who walk in darkness, give us light. For those who walk in the light, show us how to guide those who are walking in darkness. Amen.