4 December 2017

Welcome to Foundations Daily Podcast. My name is Bryony and I’m excited to be joining you this week on the podcast as it’s the first week of Advent. Up until this point we’ve been journeying through the book of Acts but for the next four weeks we’ll be taking a break as we move through Advent and Christmas. If you are new to the podcast, then firstly welcome! In each podcast we share a short thought followed by a song of worship, after which you will hear the whole Bible reading.

REFLECTION

This week we are considering just one passage from Isaiah as we begin this journey towards Advent. The word ‘Advent’ comes from the Latin word for ‘coming’ and is the period that Christians down the generations have used to prepare for Christmas. I once worked for a charity where we referenced the ‘Christmas season’ in a publication. I was very firmly told by a supporter that Christmas is one day and ‘Advent’ is the season; I’ve never made that mistake again! So Advent is this period of preparation and time for the church to ready itself to both celebrate Jesus’ birth but also to look forward to His ultimate return to earth.

Isaiah was a prophet from Jerusalem who was bringing God’s word to the corrupt leaders of Israel and Judah. They were supposed to be God’s people but they were not at all living in the light of this. Into this context Isaiah speaks a striking prophecy which not only spoke to the people’s current situation but also pointed forward to a coming Messiah. This prophecy and others like it would keep the people of God going during their own period and waiting as they anticipated the coming of the Messiah and one who would bring redemption and rescue His people. Today we are picking the Prophecy up at Isaiah 9 verse 2;

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

Light makes a difference. It makes a difference when I’m tip-toeing round my children’s bedrooms at night trying not to stand on pieces of Lego! It makes a difference for those of us in Sheffield who have lived for months with no real street lights! Light makes a difference when the clocks change and you are suddenly walking home in the dark. Light makes a difference.

Many of our church family here took part in the Streets of Light trail this year. It was incredible to see houses with amazingly creative displays in their windows sharing messages of hope, peace and love to the community. Light makes a difference.

The passage today points forward to the change that took place with Jesus’ arrival – it was to be as light is to dark. His arrival completely changed everything, a heavenly light switch was pulled and God re-illuminated His world.

Before we rush off into our week let’s bring to mind the places of people we know who are walking in darkness. Maybe it’s a community you walk through on your way to work, a lonely neighbour, a friend who is currently suffering. As we enter advent let’s be encouraged to pray that God’s great light will illuminate the darkness and bring transformation and change. Light makes a difference.

The rest of this week we will continue with the next few verses of Isaiah so please do join me tomorrow, but for now let’s finish with a prayer.

PRAYER

Jesus, thank you that you came to dispel darkness. We bring to mind now the places which we know need your light. Help us to not only pray for your light but to physically be your light in those situations this Advent. Be with us today and help us to know your light in our own darkness. Amen.

READING: ISAIAH 9:2-7

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and for ever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.