We who never suffered blindness take sunsets, children’s faces, and everyday tasks for granted. Imagine living in darkness, then having the surgical bandages removed.
William, a Liberian man, is a husband and father of four. He suffered blindness for three years and was unable to provide for his family. When he heard of a Samaritan’s Purse surgical team in Monrovia, “I was filled with hope for the future,” he said. The procedure worked. “I can read again!” he exclaimed. “I can begin to fish again and send my daughters to school.” With bandages off, he had new life.
Stories and metaphors of seeing and light are a well-trodden path to discerning the things of God. Centuries before Christ the prophet wrote, “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light” (Isa. 9:2). Darkness yet looms because evil persists in our world. But we have hope! History confirms the prophet’s words. “The true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him” (John 1:9-10). The Light is the Creator, entering His creation lying in a manger.
The world suffers with (a sometimes willing) blindness. But people, even the physically blind, are enlightened by the truth about Jesus. As that great theologian Hank Williams crooned, “I wandered so aimless, life filled with sin. I wouldn’t let my dear Savior in. Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night. Praise the Lord, I saw the light!” The bandages are off!
To believe in the true Light is to reflect it. “Every Christian is part of the dust-laden air which shall radiate the glowing epiphany of God, catch and reflect his golden Light,” writes Evelyn Underhill. “Ye are the light of the world – but only because you are enkindled, made radiant by the one Light of the world. And being kindled, we have got to get on with it, be useful.” Your light is not meant to be hidden under a bushel, Jesus said. “Let your light shine before men” (Matt. 5:16).
Each Christmas we celebrate the Light that pushes back the darkness. It’s our annual reminder that wars, hurricanes, and pandemics do not have the last say. It’s your reminder that whatever darkness this year has wrought in your life, the true Light appeared in your world to forgive and give life.
That makes Advent a season of hope and anticipation. To celebrate the coming of the Christ Child long ago is to anticipate His return. As surely as the prophet Isaiah got it right, Jesus will fulfill His own promise to return. Until that second Advent, we rejoice because we see eternity just over the horizon. Look! I see that wondrous glow in the eastern sky even now!