Scripture: Isaiah 60:1-3
During this Advent season, we light the designated candle on the Sundays prior to the celebration of Christmas. It is the season of expectation, anticipation and preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ. It is a time to receive the hope, peace, joy and love into our hearts anew!
Light is a physical, spiritual and supernatural phenomenon. Genesis 1 states, “God said, ‘Let there be light!’”
Light is a source of energy, which provides food and nourishment for every living thing. Humans, plants, animals and every creature of the earth benefits from light. Light provides vision by reflecting images on the lens and retina of our eyes.
The light dictates the temperature of the earth from the sun and many are saving a lot of money due to solar energy that is generated by sunlight. Light is a physical and supernatural phenomenon, but the text brings hope of light as a spiritual uplift to a dying nation in darkness.
Isaiah writes this prophecy to Israel during a dark and dreadful period of history when sin was raging, surrounding nations were ruling over them. God allowed this to happen as a result of Israel’s willful and persistent rebellion against God and their covenant with the Lord.
In other words, Israel once again demonstrated disobedience, disrespect, and downright separation from the things of God! The study of God’s word wasn’t a priority. Worship became an option, instead of mandatory. Prayer wasn’t a necessary item on their agenda. So, God allowed Assyria and Babylon to defeat Israel and place them under their rule.
There comes a time in life that our holy God cannot tolerate our sin and separation from our covenant. God has the power to move a mountain; shake the earth; dry up the rivers; harden the soil; allow disease to become an epidemic, but the same God has the power to calm the seas; quiet the earth; allow rivers to flow; soften soil and heal the land. Yes! In our desperate, depressing, and dark situations, there is light! So, arise and shine!
Beloved, the light brings illumination to our lives! It is imperative to respond to the prophecy, which states, “Arise, shine! For your light has come!
Every promise in the Bible requires an action on our part. So, to receive this light requires one to arise!
Arise from our slumber in sin; arise from our dozing off in dark places; arise from our nodding off instead of studying the Word; arise from our napping during prayer time; arise from our sleeping and engage in witnessing; arise and shine! Your light has come!
Illumination is available by the power of the Holy Spirit! We have the power to see the reality of the importance to humble ourselves and pray. We have the power to see the reality of the importance to turn from our evil ways. We have the power to see the reality of the importance to seek God’s face! So, arise and shine! Don’t miss the illumination of the Holy Spirit!
Once we receive the illumination, we must be intentional in our efforts to shine light in dark places. Verse 2 states, “For darkness shall cover the earth and thick darkness the people!”
Multiple opportunities exist which provide circumstances to be intentional in our efforts to bring illumination where people are experiencing dark and desolate situations. In the homeless shelters, many people travel in a spiritual dark place, therefore we, who are illumined, must shine intentionally the light of hope!
As we encounter that sister or brother who may be engaged in human trafficking, we must intentionally shine the light of hope! When we meet that individual who does not know Jesus as their personal Savior, we must intentionally shine the light of hope! Beloved, arise, shine! Illuminate in an intentional manner!
The light has influence. Verse 2b states, “and God’s glory will appear over you!” Verse 3 continues, “Nations will come to your light and kings to the brightness.”
Don’t ever underestimate the light God has illumined within us. It’s more powerful than that candle; it’s more powerful than a penlight, it’s more powerful than a flashlight, it’s more powerful than a lamp stand! It’s a light that illumines the glory of the Lord!
The presence of Lord allows us to shine. There is power in the presence of the Lord!! The illuminating spirit of the Lord shines intentionally with influence to transform.
Arise and shine! Illuminate the light that influences sadness to joy, hate to love, confusion to peace and doubt to hope. Arise, and illuminate the light that overpowers darkness. Let our lights shine, illumine intentionally to influence nations to walk in the beautiful light!
Don’t worry about who is lives in the White House. The Lord rules earth and heaven. Arise and shine! Don’t worry about the bank account accommodating the Christmas list! Our God shall supply all our needs! Arise and shine!
Don’t worry about the doctor’s report, but remember, our Lord is a healer! Arise and shine!
During this Advent season, we pray for our spiritual lights to illuminate in an intentional manner, with power, to influence transformation of dark places into the redeeming light.
The Rev. Carolyn Baskin-Bell is the senior pastor of Second AME Church, 5500 S. Hoover Blvd., in Los Angeles.