“Because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79 NIV)
For those of us who have had to navigate through some really dark moments this year, I’m once again reminded of why Jesus came. He is “the rising sun [who came] to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death to guide our feet into the path of peace” (Luke 1:78-79). Every time we thought there was no way out of the dark, there He was, shining His light on us, showing up when we were ready to give up. And this is the image that comes to mind when I listen to Zechariah’s song in Luke’s Gospel. “The beautiful imagery…is derived from the magnificence of an Eastern sunrise. In his temple service at Jerusalem the priest [Zechariah] must have seen the ruddy dawn rise grandly over the dark chain of the distant mountains, and lighting up with a blaze of golden glory the everlasting hills as they stood round about Jerusalem” (Pulpit Commentary).
Because of the light Jesus brings, I enter the Advent season with hope. Without Him, I would still be dwelling in the dark. The Rising Sun is the reason to look forward to better things to come. He is still the hope of Christmas. He is still the light when the world looks dark (“Hope of Christmas,” Matthew West). So, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you” (Isaiah 60:1).