One of the things I most like about going to the beach is the dawn of the day. There is nothing quite like watching the sun come up over the horizon. On a clear day, all you can see at first is a very thin line of brightness. Then, incredible shafts of brilliant orange and rays of bright yellow mixed with streaks of gold, pink and rose begin to shoot out across the sky. Sunrise is near. All that remains to be seen is the sun itself. Any second, the huge, blazing red sphere will lift above the horizon completely dispelling the darkness. We are at dawn—only a short breath away from sunrise. This is the situation we find ourselves during Advent. We are still waiting on the light. The sun is not quite up, but dawn is certain. We know there is still more light to appear, so we wait with an excitement sustained with confidence. We are like the psalmist who wrote, “I wait for the Lord more eagerly than watchmen wait for the dawn.”

We are actually in good company standing on this spot waiting for the darkness to be dispelled by the light. The prophet Isaiah stands alongside us. He wrote about life in a dark place. We would do well to pay attention to the words framed by this prophet as he awakens to the light. He writes, “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.” The prophet found his hopes lifted by a promise of the coming of the One who shines a light into the darkness—the Advent of the one called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” He goes on to say that there will be no end to the increase of his government or of peace. Isaiah had no question whatsoever that hope for light would be realized. Such certainty is the substance of Advent-inspired hope.

Christ is the “Light of the World,” and He invites everybody to receive Him and to live with Him and to allow His light to shine through us. This divine invitation necessitates a human decision. We can walk toward Christ or we can walk away. We can walk toward the light or we can walk toward the darkness. This is the invitation of Advent. Watch the horizon. Celebrate the dawn. Sing and pray and proclaim God ‘s word with hope and expectation. “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.” Christ has come. Christ is coming. Christ will come again. Thanks be to God!