This piece is from a cycle of readings entitled Advent Longings, which I wrote in 1997:
Isaiah the prophet sits in silence, watching the sunset of a nation… “O Lord, it darkens! Fast the night is falling in our hearts.” He weeps aloud for the glory of Israel, the glory faded now past all remembrance—except his, it seems.
“We’ve turned our backs upon the burning bush. The pillar of fire and cloud no longer guides us. We seek no more the all-consuming fire of Your holiness. You have spoken and we have stopped our ears against You. You have been the light that lightens all our lives, and we have cursed its brightness and embraced the night.
“O Lord, is there no end to all the works of darkness?
Will men’s hearts never again be turned to the glory of Your truth? Almighty God, is there not yet a hope for Your people, who were called by Your name? Will the whole world lapse into blackness when their lamp is snuffed forever?”
Isaiah sits in shadowy silence, listening to the wind. And then his hands begin to tremble as a voice fills all his frame, a trumpet voice so forceful it is like a flame:
‘The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned…
For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given,
and the government will be upon His shoulders.
And He will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.’
Isaiah sighs, steadies his hand, and takes his pen to write the words of God which will drive back the dark.
The condition of Israel at the time of Isaiah sounds disturbingly (and increasingly) similar to our own. As we continue to wait and pray for our Messiah’s SECOND Advent, let us each be faithful in prayer, in writing and speaking of our hope, and in lighting our own candles against the dark.