Occasional snippets of conversations drifted through the window as workers made their way home across the open field in the twilight; dogs barked and howled in the moonlight through the back alleyway of the city. The Elder and I snuggled our newly adopted baby girl, swaddling her glorious brown-and-honey-colored skin in soft, stark-white cotton; the faint smell of cooking fires wafted through the room.
Sheltering in a quaint Ethiopian guest house, the dim side lamp bathed the walls in a warm, low-wattage glow that night.
Suddenly, the light went out and our room was dark. Through the window, we watched as each section of the city lost power eventually becoming pitch black. It was like watching stars extinguish one by one.
More than three million people throughout the sprawling East African highlands found themselves in total darkness. Silence widened until it was almost deafening.
My heart skipped a beat. We were foreigners in a land far from home. I didn’t know what to do. So I prayed.
For 400 years before the Messiah was born, not a word of revelation was recorded or written. The silence must have been deafening then to devoted Israelites desperately searching in the dark for God, too.
At just the right time, the Everlasting Father sent His Only Son to be born on earth; the light of the Prince of Peace dawned on the horizon of this shadowed world.
“The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.”
(Isaiah 9:2, Matthew 4:16)
The Holy Spirit whispers in the darkness: Something greater is coming. His name is Jesus! This wasn’t just for Old Testament people. It’s also for us today.
I was the one who walked in darkness and lived in a dark land, bound with affliction and iron chains. (Psalm 107:13-16) Jesus brings flames of wisdom, revelation, and truth where there is ignorance, concealment, and deception. When I confessed Christ and believed, that same fire of the Holy Spirit ignited in me. Now, how am I to live?
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.
Proclaim God’s virtues…
Live as a child of light and find out what pleases the Lord… He will come again soon.
The unpredictable, rolling blackouts throughout the capital city kept its regular inhabitants in a perpetual state of preparedness knowing that all electricity could shut off at any point.
As I felt for the side table in the dark, I remembered wondering why we had been equipped with a candlestick and matches earlier in the week. Now I knew. My prayers had been answered in advance by someone who knew what I needed even before I knew it myself.
I struck the match, a bright flame sparked as sulfur drifted upwards, wrinkling my nose. Perhaps the stench of hell went before the glorious Savior, too, during the passion and crucifixion, but His divine illumination will never be overcome, not on earth nor in heaven.
Wherever we gather this season, let our flames unite into a wild conflagration, a never-ending testimony that God’s glorious Light will never be extinguished! Our job is to bring His Light to our dark world.
Jesus is coming soon.
“The light shines in the darkness
and the darkness had not overcome it.”
Further reading: 1 Peter 2
How are you shining your light this winter season to proclaim God’s virtues? Do you have meaningful family traditions your children enjoy or that you remember from childhood? Share and comment below!