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This devotion is part of the Jesse Tree Advent devotion series. 

Scripture reading: Isaiah 9:2-7

Deep darkness is unnerving. Maybe you’ve experienced it while camping. The night is moonless, the trees thick overhead. Your campsite is at the far end of the road, and you’ve left your flashlight in the tent. The fire has died. You can see nothing. No silhouettes, no shadows, no specks of light in the distance. Nothing.

You don’t know what’s around you. You’ve lost your bearings. Your eyes strain to adjust, but the futility of it gives you a headache. The darkness is oppressive.

This is the kind of deep darkness the people of Israel walked in—disorienting, oppressive darkness. They had been walking in it so long, they’d lost hope. They’d nearly forgotten what it was to see.

It’s into this darkness that the sun comes blaring over the horizon, heralding a new day. On this day, a Son will be born. He will be a righteous king, and with his reign of light come hope and peace. The atmosphere has changed completely. Rather than feeling disoriented, the people know which way is up. They are certain of what is right, of where they are headed.

This is the hope of Advent. God promises that morning is coming. Whatever our dark, depressing circumstances, we can have confidence in this: a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace is on his way.

Prayer

God of light, I can’t wait for your arrival. I pray that you would shine into the darkest corners of our world and of my life, bringing hope and setting things right. Amen.

About the author

Grace Claus is resident theologian and editor for Faithward. She's also managing editor of RCA Today, the denominational magazine of the Reformed Church in America.