Winter always seems so long. Growing up in Oregon, winter meant not only short, dark days but also endless drizzling rain. In St. Louis, winter meant bone-chilling cold and more snow than I would typically prefer.
But it always happened. Slowly but surely the days would get longer. You didn’t notice it at first, but then all of a sudden the sun would be up earlier and stay out longer. The rain would, eventually, stop and the snow would melt. At the end of a cold, dark winter light would come. The words of Isaiah the prophet convey this hope:
Arise. Shine. For your light has come!
- Isaiah 60:1
This was Isaiah’s proclamation and promise to a people who were steeped in their own darkness. Their country had been destroyed. Their families had been scattered. All hope had been lost. All they had to hang on to was this promise of God from the mouth of Isaiah. A light would dawn, God says. A light would peek over the horizon and shine brightly into the darkness of their despair.
Indeed, at Christmas this prophecy is fulfilled! In Jesus a light has come. But it’s not just Christmas. Jesus, the Light of the World, shines brightly throughout His ministry as he exposes the darkness of sin, death, and the devil and shows, in no uncertain terms, God’s overwhelming power against it. And at his resurrection, our Lord arises from the grave, once and for all shining the Light of God on the cold darkness of sin.
So then, the Word of God calls out to us. “Arise. Shine. For your light has come!” This is not a command to stand up and do something but rather it is God speaking, beckoning us forth. It is like Jesus calling Lazarus out from the darkness of the tomb (John 11:43). It is like dry bones that come back to life (Ezekiel 37:1-14). It is God’s Word that does something to us. It brings us back to life. For we were once dead in our sins but now the Light of Jesus Christ has come into the world and has brought us back to life (Ephesians 2:1-10)!
Arise! Shine! For the Light of Jesus has come for you!
With you in Christ,
PS Join Pastor Steve Roma and me online beginning this Sunday, January 10, for our brand new sermon series “Arise”!