I know, technically Sunday, November 27, was the first day of Advent, but for simplicity – so I can keep up with what day it is – I always start on December 1.
We aren’t liturgical people – we’ve been part of nondenominational churches and groups for years – but journeying through Advent with our family is the best way I know to focus on the point of this holiday season. It’s easy for us, and our kids, to get caught up in all the fun stuff, forgetting Jesus. We don’t want to do that.
My kids look forward to it every year and have started referring to it as, “The Dark Thing.” They call it that because we always do the reading at night (with a yummy snack, of course) and I turn off all the lights. I do that so we can fully appreciate the candlelight.
How appropriate it is that they call it The Dark Thing, because that is precisely the situation the Son of God entered into when He came.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1, 4-7, 9, 14 ESV
That passage of Scripture has always gripped me. I think there’s so much packed into it that we cannot comprehend.
The full revelation of God. The provision of God. The glory of God made manifest.
It blows my mind. I’ve meditated on John 1 more than any other passage of Scripture, by far.
The first candle we light during Advent is the Hope candle. “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” That’s what the Hope candle brings to mind.
I’ve come to kind of distrust people who can’t acknowledge the darkness – those who are fearful of honest assessments of life, of the world, who are quick to shut others down when they share their pain. There are many good and joyful things happening all around us, but Creation still groans for the freedom from bondage to corruption. Advent is traditionally the season to think on that.
Of course we don’t want to fix our eyes on the darkness, but at the same time, the gospel is that there is darkness in the world, but Jesus has overcome it. There’s a new king. There’s a new way. There is hope.
We don’t have to fear the darkness. We can look at it headlong, and maintain our joy and our peace and our hope, because darkness cannot overcome light.
There are better days ahead.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:1-5 ESV