When I was a child growing up in the country, summer nights would be lit up by fireflies. My cousins and I would try and catch them, and we got pretty good at it. I remember one day, I decided to make a lantern by putting fireflies in a jar. Fireflies don’t like to be trapped. Only when I released them would they light up again. That’s what fireflies are good at: lighting up the darkness. But they have to be free to do it.
The prophet Isaiah also knew that light needs freedom. God had set his people apart to be a light to the nations, but that light had been taken captive by their sin. It could no longer be seen by the nations around them. Not only that, but Israel was being besieged and would soon be taken captive. After that, God’s people would find it really hard to let their light shine.
There was always a remnant though. Prophets like Daniel and Isaiah and others who stayed faithful carried that light with them in the midst of the darkness.
The years between the Old and New Testament years are known as the “silent years.” They must have also been very dark spiritually. There was no prophetic vision.
On that holy night we sing about, when angelic light suddenly pierced the sky above the shepherds, it must not have seemed like freedom — it must have seemed like a time of overwhelming terror. But God’s light set them and others free. Free to worship, free to hope, free to be a light to the nations. It sets us free as well — free to love others and share that light with them.
Dear Jesus, thank you for the light of your presence. Help us to carry that light to others. In Jesus’ name, amen.
You can use this poem about God’s light as a prayer today
Throughout This Day: Reflect on this question: How does God’s light set you free today?
Photo Credit: Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash