O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high,
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Just so we are clear, "Dayspring" refers to the rising sun. I don't think anyone talks that way anymore, but it's what worked in the poem, so here we are. This verse is based on what I think is one of the most beautiful passages in all of Scripture. Isaiah 9:1-2 says, "Nevertheless, the gloom of the distressed land will not be like that of the former times when he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali. But in the future he will bring honor to the way of the sea, to the land east of the Jordan, and to Galilee of the nations. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness."
At the time I am writing this, it's dark outside. To make matters worse, dark clouds hung around all day, making the past 24 hours rather gloomy. Darkness is bad because we can't see in it. There could be any number of threats nearby and we could never see them. In the dark, we are lost, unable to see where we are going or what we are looking for. But the thing about the darkness is that it always ends! I know that in the morning, the sun will rise, and I will be able to see again. These clouds won't be able to hang around forever, but the sun will predictably rise every morning. In fact, it's so predictable that my phone can tell me exactly what time the sun will rise.
In college, I was known on occasion to procrastinate on assignments and have to stay up all night to finish them. Sadly, there were many of these occasions. If you've ever stayed up all night, you know that it is a miserable experience. You're body is wired to sleep during that time, and when it can't do that, you get irritable. It feels like time is dragging on, and that the night will never end. But despite our perceptions, the sun is still coming right on time.
The appearing of Christ was much like the rising of the sun after a long night. It felt as though the world had been in darkness forever, and that it would continue to be in darkness forever. But right on time, Christ appeared like the rising sun! By His light, we can see the world and ourselves as we ought to. By His light, we know how we ought to live. By His light, we are no longer living our lives lost in darkness, but can see the path towards our destiny with God!
How I look forward to His second coming! When I think about how long it's been since Christ walked the earth, I am often filled with doubt. I think, "surely he couldn't have meant that it would be THIS long." But I remember that this is just the dark before the dawn. To me, it feels like forever, but the sun will someday rise, right on schedule!
Passages for further reflection: Isaiah 9:1-2, Matthew 4:12-17, John 1:1-5, 8:12
This post is a part of a series on the song, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." Be sure to check out the other posts in the series and my original post explaining why this is my favorite Christmas song.