Read Isaiah 64:1-9.
Have you ever been up really early? So early that there is no glow yet on the eastern horizon? Maybe you have been up all-night studying. Do you know those early hours where your body shivers at the thought of the cool air? Do you remember seeing only stars in the deep dark abyss? There it is. That’s the moment Advent begins. Advent begins in a world long lost to the sun. It begins before any hint of glow warms the east. It begins by longingly looking back and remembering what it feels like to share sunlight on your cheeks. It begins when all you have is memory and hope. You can remember the experiences of yesterday and have a good hope of what tomorrow could be if the sun’s course stays true. That is where we take our first steps into Advent.
That is where God’s people find themselves as we peer into the 64th chapter of Isaiah. It comes from a people who have lived in a particularly traumatic time. They are first enslaved and then freed to return to the homes of their parents’ memories. But instead of their parents’ dreams, they only find ruin. The Hebrew children are the walking dead, muddling through their day, never waking from this nightmare. It is the deepest hour of night and they have all but forgotten the sun. Then the prophet offers a dream of what could be; what could be if God caused the sun to finally rise. And we know God does, but to them, there was a real possibility that God had moved on from them and gone for good This can be the easiest part of the Christmas season to skip. The world makes it easy to overlook. The stores already decorated in full Christmas glow leave us ready to leap frog the lament of pre-dawn. The power of Christmas morning is already showing in full glory, so why remember the dark? Why build with expectation and wonder of Advent if the bow is already off the present? Have you ever been up really early in the morning, when the horizon first lightens? Have you ever blinked at the first beam to stretch the horizon and breathed in the wonder of a new day? That’s why.
Tom Bryson, UKirk MSU