“Arise! Shine! Your light has come!” was the cry of the prophet Isaiah to a people who had lost their sense of purpose.
These were a people in exile in a distant land with strange customs and they were far from the land of their fathers. Then comes Isaiah’s revelation, a revelation to let his people know that they had not been abandoned, that the Lord had not forgotten them, and that the people who lived in slavery would once again be restored
The fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy would find its complete expression in the coming of the Christ. In him, the Wise men discover the lasting light of eternal hope in all its brightness. The revelation of Jesus to those seeking Gentiles is the epiphany of the waiting world struggling in the darkness – Arise! Shine! Your light has come!
There is a darkness that consumes many people and many areas of our world today and cries from many hearts can be heard everywhere. The darkness of our times, like that of ages past gathers a foothold in the sins of greed, lust, power, an abandonment of the faith and a host of others. Even while the physical suns rises and sets each day, in many areas the light of God’s Son has dimmed and in some place gone totally out.
Like the Israelites of long ago, people of this day stagger through a frightening darkness that suffocates our lives. In Isaiah 21:11 we hear “Watchman, what is left of the night” and with people long ago we look for the dawn of hope. In that other time, the watchman on the wall turned his eyes to the east and cried out that the night was passing and that the dawn was rising. Surely it would reveal a new day.
Who are the watchmen of our time? Who is shouting into the darkness of our day to Arise and Shine? Who are the bearers of the good news who declare that the Son of Righteousness has risen?
Are not we, who are the followers of Jesus, the watchmen, the modern disciples and the bearers of the good news? And, since we are the disciples, how do we make this good news known to our darkened world?
It must begin with we who are believers in Christ recognizing that we are not the source of the light that scatters the darkness of sin, but we are called to reflect the light which is generated by the Christ who is the light of the world. Each of us must be brave enough to reflect Christ’s light and join with others so that together we reflect the glory of God.
Just as an outdoor light draws the attention of night insects, so the light shining into the dark night of someone’s life draws that person’s attention and presence. That is especially true if, at the source of the light, the person finds comfort and acceptance, healing and love.
If you and I make a resolution this year to reach out to others in need, no matter how small or great, we will send out a light that will attract them to the light of the world.
Arise! Shine! Your light has come and the glory of the Lord has shined upon you! Now let us go and be someone’s epiphany today!