December 1, 2019: A Candle in the Darkness

First Sunday of Advent

On this First Sunday of Advent, we hear the prophet Isaiah speaking to the people of Judah. They are living in fear. Their mood is dark and absent of hope. Both the Aramean king of Damascus and the northern kingdom of Israel are seeking alliances with Judah, neither of which would be favorable for them. The pressure is great, and no light to lift the gloom is in sight, nor any power to release them from their prison of fear. King Ahaz, ill equipped to deal with the existing dilemma, calls on Isaiah.

Gathering the people together, Isaiah begins to speak. He paints for them a verbal picture of the mountain of the Lord and God’s vision of a world where people of many nations come and learn to live together in respect for each other and in peace.

As we gather for worship on this first day of the church year, perhaps we come with concerns, confusion, fears, a sense of heaviness, disturbed by what seems a whole world in turmoil. We too are seeking light. And suddenly a candle glows, calling us to begin again the annual journey that leads us to the birth of the Divine Light and the fulfillment of the words of Isaiah.

Judith Justice, retired pastor
Winston-Salem, North Carolina