O Dayspring, splendor of light everlasting, come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.
It is hard for us in the modern world to appreciate what darkness and light meant to the ancients. After the sun went down there was not much left to do but sleep. Sure a candle, a fire, or a torch could give off enough light to see faces or maybe to write or read if you had the means and the ability, but when the sun went down so did most people. Now think about the short days of winter especially for those living way north of the equator. Spring would have a whole new meaning to us if we only lived back then. Christ as the Light was a striking picture to the ancients and should be to us as well.
As the morning rays of sun scatter the darkness so Christ chases away the darkness that shrouds us with doubt, despair, and depression. We see. What we see is twofold. We see our sin. We are exposed. The dim ambiance at the restaurant conceals many flaws of the skin that are so prominent in the bright lights around our mirrors the next morning. Every wrinkle, every imperfection, and every bag under the eyes is amplified. We are exposed for who we really are. We also see his grace. We all know about the darkness that overcame Jerusalem that fateful Friday afternoon of the crucifixion but what about the broad daylight earlier that afternoon. There we see the Lamb in all of his crucified glory.
The darkness retreats into its corner when the Word of God is spoken. Its scatters in fear. The shroud that seemed so brave before the Word came bright like lightning now cowers in fright. It is no match for the Light of the World. Yet we know this darkness will creep back in slowly like a thief. It slides and sneaks in like the coward it is. Doubt creeps in. “Did God really say Jesus is Savior?” Despair sneaks in. “Do you really think God could forgive you for that.” Depression slinks in. “There is no way God or anybody else thinks you have value.”
But the Light of the World is a light no darkness can overcome. The Father says, “This is my Son whom I love, with whom I am well pleased” and doubt scurries into its corner. The pastor says, “I forgive you all of your sins” and despair darts into the shadows where it belongs. Christ says, “Come to me you who are weary and heavy burdened” and depression recoils defeated. It is the light no darkness can overcome. And tomorrow the same Word that is Light will chase away your darkness until one day in heaven there will be no darkness like this, and no sun either, for the Light of the World will be our sun.
Oh, come, O Dayspring from on high, and cheer us by your drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel!
– Michael Berg
(Originally published Dec 2017)