“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.”
Isaiah 9:2 (ESV)
For a time the famous Victorian author Charles Dickens suffered from insomnia and decided that the best way to cope with the problem was to get up and walk the streets of London and return at sunrise, tired, to a restful sleep. It was not uncommon for Dickens to walk seven or even eight, sometimes twelve miles before dawn. As he walked through the back alleys and hidden parts of London he witnessed the lives of the homeless poor and discovered the pitiable social conditions of Victorian London, including drunkenness and vice on the streets. Afterwards he wrote of his experiences in an essay entitled, “Night Walks.”
Through the incarnation, God came to those who, according to the prophet Isaiah quoted above, spiritually walked and dwelt in a land of deep darkness. Jesus Christ came to shine a light in the spiritual darkness of this world. His night walks took him through the hidden parts and back alleys of this world, not simply as an observer and witness, but as the anointed one, “to bring good news to the poor…to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” (Isaiah 61:1) Isaiah also adds that he came “to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.” (Isaiah 42:7)
In a world where, through the news media, we are constantly reminded of its spiritual darkness, the incarnation brings a message of hope, for “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5)
Jesus has triumphed over the powers of evil in this world. Humanity no longer has to walk in darkness but has the opportunity to have life, for as Jesus testified of himself, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Christians are encouraged not to be disheartened or overcome by the darkness of this world but to walk in newness of life through Jesus, “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light…” (Ephesians 5:8) Christians are called to follow the example of Jesus and walk and behave as those who live in the light.
Father, we thank you for the gift of your son who willingly gave up his glory to become a human being in a troubled world. In union with Jesus, help us to be a light that helps others to see your glory.
Study by Eddie Marsh
Grace Communion, Sheffield
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