“…Come, Let us walk in the light of the LORD” Isaiah 2:5b (NKJV)
Growing up in a tiny fishing community called Port Bickerton, along Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore, earns me the title of a “country girl.” My home, as well as the homes of my paternal grandparents, two uncles, six cousins, and a great aunt and uncle, was located at the very outskirts of our community. When I say outskirts, I mean the lighthouse was our nearest neighbour. The melodious roar of the ocean surf, the crescendo of the sea gulls’ screech; those intermingled with the occasional haunting blast of the foghorn made up my nightly lullaby.
The streetlights running through our “town” ended at the pavement’s edge. We, however, lived half a mile past that! Locally, the dead-end, unpaved, unlit stretch of road was aptly nicknamed after its residents – “Corkum’s Road.”
Every Corkum kid knew the rule. Be home before the streetlights came on or you’d be walking that half-mile stretch in the dark – ALONE.
However, one moonless night in mid-December, as most teens tend to do, I lost track of time at a friend’s house. The streetlights already on, I found myself standing at the pavement’s edge, staring into the long, lightless span before me. Much to my chagrin, the only way to get home was through the darkness. Being pre-cell phone days, calling a friend or a parent to come to my rescue was not an option. I had to either go it alone or sit there in the cold, waiting for my parents to get concerned and come looking for me. (In those days, that took a lot longer than it does today.)
My courage was weak but the cold nipping at my nose spurred me into action. Taking a deep breath of wintery air (expecting it to be my last!), and resembling Road Runner from Bugs Bunny, I took off.
Running is one thing, but running blindly in the dark is yet another. My heart pounded loudly, but not loud enough to block out every ghostly noise a deep, wooded, country road offers in the pitch black of night.
I stumbled. I caught myself. Gasping for breath, I stumbled again! I started to sob. Panic set in with the certainty that “something” was pursuing me. Every breath I took hurt. My legs hurt. Convinced that the darkness would swallow me completely, I prayed for help.
Rounding the final bend in the road, I saw it! Piercing the darkness, like a powerful lighthouse beam, was the little candle in the middle of the wreath my mother hung each Christmas in our kitchen window.
My heart leaped with joy! The hope of that tiny light defeated the hopelessness of the darkness, renewing my strength. With my eyes fixed on that light, I continued. That one tiny candle led my tired, weary steps through the darkness to the safety and warmth of my home.
This world is in darkness – a growing darkness. Many are stumbling, losing their way and their hope. Countless are on lightless roads with the enemy closing in, and are in danger of falling prey.
They need to know – there is a LIGHT in the window!
Two thousand years ago, God placed a candle of hope in an animals’ feed trough, in a lonely stable. With His first infant cry, the LIGHT pierced the encroaching darkness and God declared through the ages, “The darkness will never defeat my LIGHT.”
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him, all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the LIGHT of men. The LIGHT shines in the darkness…” John 1:1-5a NIV
During the weeks of Advent (coming, arrival) leading up to Christmas, may our hearts celebrate, not just the coming of the Babe in the Manger, but also the Second Coming of our King. As we light our Advent candles this month, may we do so as an act of protest to the darkness. May we remember that darkness only exists in the absence of Light.
As we kneel before Christ the Babe, may we also humble ourselves before Christ the King, submitting to shine steadily, steadfastly, and with purpose until He returns (Second Advent). Let this Advent Season renew our vigour to tend vigilantly the Light burning bright in the window of our souls, so that it may always pierce the darkness, offering hope to those stumbling in the dark.
As the Advent wreath light grows with the lighting of each candle, so too may the swell of hope in our hearts. Let the glorious radiance of that wreath, fully lit on Christmas Eve, remind us that we WILL make it safely through the darkening days ahead. May the wonder of this Advent Season cause us to rejoice, for as the Promised Babe came 2000 years ago, so too will the Promised King!