This devotional begins the 25-Day Advent Series “The Wonders of His Love.” Follow along with us as we grow in grace through the Christmas story by subscribing or visiting the home page above!
Day 1 Scripture: Isaiah 9:2-7
As a child I can remember the anticipation I felt as the holidays transitioned from Thanksgiving into Christmas time. It was and still is my favorite time of year.
From peppermint, hot cocoa, jingle bells, and crackling fires in the hearth, there is nothing about the month of December that ceases to amaze me. Especially all of the Christmas lights.
Remembering back, a tell-tale sign that Christmas was coming was the twinkling of lights displayed throughout the neighborhood. Christmas tree lots and cookies would come later, but the lights were always the first thing to announce that the Merry Day was on its way.
It wasn’t uncommon for our family to take a drive across town to catch a show of parading lights on the illuminated homes.
The shimmer of each light in the backdrop of the evening sky made each display that much more brilliant.
Colors popped and glittering was accentuated. Shouts of glee were not uncommon noises coming from the backseat of our car.
Even though those lights symbolized the coming of an exciting holiday, the lights weren’t exactly a new concept when Thomas Edison invented the stranded bulb back in 1880.
Remarkably, the illumination of the night’s sky started way before the first celebration of Christmas and originated with God the Father.
The light in darkness symbolized something beyond scope of our imagination. It represented life.
The Light in Prophecy
Let’s visit the book of Isaiah, shall we?
It is there that we read the awe-inspiring prophecy of the coming Messiah. It is the moment where God gives a glimpse into an event that will be greatly anticipated by the Israelites. The coming of their Leader and Savior:
“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.
You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from the shoulders.
You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian. The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire.
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” Isaiah 9:2-7 NLT (emphasis added)
The Light in Christ
As we read the prophecy within the Scripture above it is hard not to think of the One who has already fulfilled it: our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Just as the Lord promised, one came shining in the night, swaddled in cloth and laid in a manger.
It was a light in the night’s sky that announced Jesus’ arrival to the wise men from eastern lands and led the way through the darkness to the town of Bethlehem.
“After the interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:9-11 NLT
When I read these words I can actually imagine myself as one of the wise men gazing up at a brilliant star.
I can also imagine myself as one of the shepherds in a field who were suddenly surrounded by the radiant glory of the Lord as an angel approached to tell them the Messiah being born (Luke 2).
Both instances were accounts of light in the darkness, and each occurrence announced the arrival of our Lord. It happened just as prophecy said it would.
The Light in Christmas
It is now more apparent to me why Christmas lights bring so much anticipation within them. They exemplify the expectation of our Savior and the brilliance of His arrival.
Stranded lights represent so much more to me now as I read these verses, but please don’t misunderstand what I write. For the lights themselves hold no promise, they only symbolize the One who does.
For Jesus has said…“I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.” John 12:46 NLT
and also “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12 NLT
As I hang my Christmas lights this year, I will do so with an expectant heart for now they mean more to me.
As I encounter homes that twinkle and shine, I will say a prayer of gratitude.
And when I place the star upon my tree, I will remember that it was not so very long ago that the star in the darkness of the night announced the arrival of our King.
Questions For Your Heart:
- How does the fact that Jesus embodied Isaiah 9:2 grow your trust and hope in God?
- Jesus came to set slaves free (Isaiah 9:4). By believing in Christ, we can be set free from sin and death and receive eternal life in His Name. What sins or struggles from this year can you bring to the cross and seek forgiveness and freedom in?
- Which of Christ’s titles (Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace) can give you most encouragement right now?
About the Author
Natalie is a wife and mother who is devoted to her King. Not only does she have a heart for Christ but she also has a passion for writing about the challenges that Christian women face this day in age. Her story is one of spiritual growth and having determinable faith to finish the race well. When she’s not writing on her blog Milk and Honey Faith you can find her spending time with her family, sipping on coffee, and daydreaming about the sea.
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