“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwll in the land of the shadow of death, a light has shined” Isaiah 9:2
I picture it like this, come on, picture it with me: There’s Death, right, and he lives at the top of a cold black mountain made of jagged chunks of stone—sharp, black rocks that would slice your feet open, piled high into a huge fortress.
Nothing grows on the mountain. Death’s fortress blocks out the sunlight.
In the shadow of Death’s mountain, tucked in a little valley is a tiny village. The people are small, and pinched, and pale, and afraid. Everywhere, even in the daylight, there is the feeling that you’re walking around in dim, windowless room.
And there is always that fear. Always, always the fear that stalks around the people, stealing their laughter and tightening its cold fists around their hearts. Because sometimes Death swoops down from the mountain, snatchs up one of the little villagers, and flaps back to his fortress to crack open their skulls and devour them.
No one knows who will be next.
Until one day, a baby is born. And suddenly, the villagers feel like they can breathe a little bit. Things aren’t so dark anymore. There’s a little bit of light now. Right under the nose of the evil one himself, someone had dared to strike a match.
And do you know what that flickering match is called?
That’s what I love about Christmas. It’s not the end of the story—we’re still living in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but we have a bit of light now. The Saviour has come, and he will come again. And Christmas is when we not only get to celebrate the light we have, but look forward to the day when Death will completely tumble down off his mountain, and we’ll smash the fortress to bits and have a party and plant sunflowers.
We’re not there yet, but the revolution has begun. A light has shined. We’ve seen it. Things aren’t quite so dark in this valley anymore.
This the first in a series of daily advent reflections. To sign up to receive them daily, email steph.ebert17(at)gmail(dot)com. However, I’ll do a special one each Sunday (ha ha– we see how well that went this week).