The following is a devotion I wrote for my local seminary’s advent devotional.
Blind, prisoners, dungeons, sitting in darkness…Stay here where things are dire. Our guilty consciences, our bruised egos, our shame, our failure wants us to move on; “Let’s not talk about this… let’s get to the good news… quickly!” But, in this very last day of Advent, this is where we should be: face-to-face with the dire reality of our situation. Things are no longer “very good” (Gen 1:31) and not even a little good; they are—once again—completely “not good” (Gen 2:18). Because we prefer to dash the mirror to the floor rather than face ourselves as we are, because we would rather run to the furthest, outermost darkness rather than let the light expose the truth. We must be reminded of where we were, where we are without Christ. St. Paul reminds Titus, “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves…passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.” We were once blind, imprisoned, cloaked in darkness, helpless, hopeless, separated from God and each other, and, for all intents and purposes, dead. Apart from Him, our situation is just that bad, just that dire, just that “not good.” If it depends on us, the story ends here.
But the story doesn’t end here, because it is not up to us. Things are about to get very good.
…I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness…Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare (Isaiah 42:6c-9a)…
God will come for his people; He will descend into our reality, into our darkness, into our prisons and dungeons, even into death to rescue us. Why? Because He promised He would and because He loves us. Because His word never falls flat and His love never lies dormant.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
Remembering where we were and are apart from Him, our hearts quicken with expectation and excitement as the incarnation, the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior, and the long awaited inauguration of the fulfillment of God’s promise rushes towards us. Our hallelujahs join with those of yesteryear and our eyes brim with tears of gratitude: morning is breaking.
Come, Lord Jesus.