A passage of scripture often quoted during Advent (but relevant at all times) is Isaiah 9:2: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.” From a reading of the entirety of Isaiah 9, we learn that this is a prophecy of the coming of Christ, who was sent into a world of darkness to shine light.
The prophecy from Isaiah is repeated in Matthew 4:16 and Luke 1:79 as Jesus began his ministry of preaching and John the Baptist began preparing the way for Jesus. While we find this scripture centuries ago first in the Old Testament and then in the New Testament, there is every reason for it to be repeated as a message of hope in the twenty-first century.
There is plenty of darkness where we live, but there is darkness we can scarcely believe throughout the world–persecution, genocide, starvation, destruction. Thus, the scripture from Isaiah and repeated in Matthew and Luke should be our daily prayer. When this scripture appears in Matthew and Luke, in addition to referring to people who live in darkness, it says those people also live in the shadow of death. A quick look at the news let’s us know that there are people today who live in deep darkness and the shadow of death every day as they did hundreds and thousands of years ago.
Let us lift them up in prayer every day, asking that they may see God’s great light.