Advent: Light Piercing the Darkness
“And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 2 Peter 1:19
It was incumbent upon me as a combat Platoon Leader in Vietnam to do all I could to keep the men in my platoon alive, while still accomplishing the mission. One of those numerous ways was not allowing my soldiers to strike up a cigarette without cover at night while in enemy territory, which was nearly everywhere. The mere striking of a match or a lighter to light a cigarette, or even the ash on the end of a lit cigarette would show for literally miles on a dark night; a perfect target for a sniper’s bullet and the head behind it, or a dead give-away to the enemy as to exactly where our platoon was located. It is surprising how far light, even a tiny light, projects in darkness; the darker, the more a sliver of light cuts through the blackness for miles.
If you are familiar with the Old Testament and its many “bits of the light of prophecy, pregnant with greater clarity than those waiting are willing to open eyes of faith to see, pointing to the coming Messiah, then you are familiar with Advent texts. These “bits of prophecy, piercing the darkness, stretch from the Garden of Eden to a “quiet-interval of 400 inter-testament years preceding the sudden arrival of a Babe in a manger. In those four centuries the prophets’ writing fell silent after ten previous, while the actual words spoken stretched from the beginning dawn of civilization in Eden to the “quiet four hundred; until you hear, as Dr. Luke later recounted, Zechariah conversing with the angel Gabriel concerning the significant birth of these two: the long-promised Messiah and his prophesied forerunner John, Zechariah’s son. Metaphorically, these “bits of light of certain promise over the many centuries are the harbingers of hope to men and women of faith, not unlike Simeon and Anna, living in each century from Eden to Bethlehem. They shine down through the centuries twinkling in the darkness as precedents of the star over Bethlehem announcing the Savior’s birth. “Bits of the Scriptures foretelling His advent encourages the study of the Bible with zeal and devotion.
Advent is an annual celebratory and instructive season, which in a mere four weeks has the beneficial intent of teaching you the nature of persevering hope in a coming Messiah, through the dark centuries before Christ, and, by their perfect fulfillment, inspiring your hope for the future return of the King in glory and majesty. It will be as sudden as the first, but the Second Advent rings down the curtain on “procrastination with finality concerning salvation. Advent has two purposes: first, to celebrate the coming of salvation into the world when God became flesh and lived among us, and, second, to eagerly and actively anticipate His return; yet future, but “soon, for you will not allow the darkness of this age to overcome your hope.
Peter writes, “You will do well to pay attention to this! John writes, “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. Darkness is cunning; it is debilitating; it is demoralizing; it encourages fear; it is not something to take lightly, or with pride. Walking in the light as He is in the light is the only way to defeat darkness. Keep your hope secure by focusing on the many points of light that promise the certainty of His advent. “Yes, I am coming soon! Amen. Come Lord Jesus!
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