Pillar Journal
Vol. 5 No.1 / Advent 2022 - A seasonal journal produced by Pillar Church in Holland, MI to guide us through the Christian year.
Pillar Journal

Week 3

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The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness– on them light has shined… For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

– Isaiah 9:2 & 6

Isaiah describes a land of deep darkness.

Exile, oppression, wandering, corruption, hunger, desolation, crying out for deliverance… Israel’s story bursts with pain alongside promises.

And God’s people know of a deep darkness.
A faithful God, yes, and a land of deep darkness,
and it’s complicated.

Do you know of a deep darkness?
Perhaps you’ve walked through a land of acute deep darkness: shame, sadness, longing, confusion, desperation, anger, etc…
The land of deep darkness can be quite personal.
A faithful God, yes, and a land of deep darkness, and it’s complicated.

The Psalmist describes a land of deep darkness this way:
The Valley of the Shadow of Death.
Saint Augustine said that The Valley of the Shadow of Death represents life on earth.

Can we be honest?
We’ve all been to The Valley.
We’ve all been to the land of deep darkness.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness– on them light has shined.

Isaiah describes a land of deep darkness.
reminding us of the beginning-of-time Genesis moment
when “darkness covered the face of the deep, when God said ‘let there be light’ and there was light.”

Invading spaces of darkness with light– God’s been doing this for a while
… it’s who God is, to bring light to the darkness.

And in those slow, spacious pre-creation moments,
God held in his heart the promise to send an even greater light than the sun and stars he would speak into existence to light the sky.

Jesus, the God-man, the truest, fullest light, has always been the telos and center of God’s creative heart.

Bringing light and life through his very infant self, God-with-us pierces the darkness with the brightness and hope of a tiny child.

God says,
“Land of deep darkness people, I love you, here I come,
it’s gonna get bright, brace yourselves for the illuminating cries of a newborn child.

Land of deep darkness people, here’s your Prince of Peace, the kind of light you didn’t know you needed.”

A Prayer:
Jesus
Born for us, here and now, as our light, here and now.
Pointing toward one day when his love is all that we know
and the land of deep darkness isn’t even a distant memory.
Amen.

Anna Erickson, Advent 2022

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