Harvey Dent, also known as Two Face, in the 2008 Dark Knight movie about Batman says this, “The night is always darkest before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming.”
You hear a line like that and you might think that Dent would be a protagonist of the movie. Spoiler alert — he ends up becoming a tragic character who fits more of a description of the villain than a hero. His character resonates with our modern-day cynicism and even hopelessness. How can we trust the dawn or light is coming when it’s said from a vastly imperfect person?
As we begin Advent, our pursuit of the light might seem idealistic. The darkness of the brokenness and sin of the world hits us each day in the headlines and news reports. Will the light ever come? Will dawn ever breakthrough?
Isaiah 9:1-7 did not come to the original readers during a time of peace and prosperity. The Prophet Isaiah writes in a time when the Kings of Israel had failed the people and Assyrian captivity was on the horizon. Just like in our times, the people had a healthy skepticism. Paraphrasing verse 2, they might wonder, “We’ve walked in darkness, and we will see a great light? The dawn will come?”
The hope Isaiah offered resided in a theological idea called, “the already, but not yet.” Amid the chaos of their situation, Israel had hope for today in the darkness (already), but they had even more hope in the “child to be born.” (Isaiah 9:6)
When I put my daughters to bed, I flick the overhead lights and then turn on the night light. Yes, we’re still waiting for morning to come, but even in the darkness there’s light.
For us reading Isaiah 9:1-7, we have the promise of the Gospel – the light has come through Jesus’s death and resurrection. Yet, we have not yet experienced the fullness of the light in this world. That’s good news for those of us who have had a difficult year. That’s good news for us who feel cynical that the world can get any better. That’s good news for people living in darkness. Ultimately, the hope of Jesus meets us in the reality of today and the hope of tomorrow making the sad things untrue.
Jesus isn’t Harvey Dent. When He says the dawn is coming, you can believe it. Advent reminds us that He gave up the riches of heaven to enter the darkness and pain of the world. Because of Him, the Light has come.
Prayer: Lord, help me see Your light amid this dark world. Give me hope during this season to experience the Gospel in my everyday life. Allow me to share Your light to others.
Take a piece of paper and turn it horizontally/landscape. Draw a line in the middle of the sheet. Reflect on the last year. If something was positive put it above the line. If something was negative, put below the line. Then, write down the ways that God was with you in the “down” or “dark” season.
Cover Photo by Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz on Unsplash