O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
and bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night
and turn our darkness into light.
Immanuel shall come to you,
Perhaps it has always been so, but there does seem to be a fair bit of “the shadows of the night” lately that the artificial light of Christmas lights doesn’t quite seem to pierce. Sudden fires sweeping down mountain sides, killing and causing unbelievable devastation. Storms with violent tornados that sweep life and property away. Changes in the political landscape and leadership have caused rifts in both our nation as well as in the church at large. Differences in certain theological views can cause darkness to seep into an otherwise bright church. Disease and health problems cast a shadow over futures that before seemed very bright and hopeful. Threats of terror and senseless brutal killing of innocents around the world make that shadow very real this season.
The “shadows of the night” are sometimes very deep. In such times, it is not uncommon for people to find themselves distraught and a bit frustrated during this time of year. We want Christmas to be a happy time of celebrating and joy! And yet, the “shadows of the night” loom closely and those shadows can dim our Christmas joy. But that is precisely where this Advent song can be so powerful!
The name, “Bright Morning Star” is from Revelation 22:16 and it describes our Lord Jesus. This verse isn’t from the Old Testament people of Israel longing of the Messiah. No, this is from the other side of the cross, the New Testament looking forward to the return of Jesus. This song recognizes and accepts that there are “shadows of the night” in our lives. There is death and destruction. Disease, disputes and divisions do exist and cause us heartache and pain.
And yet, we long for the Bright Morning Star to come and dispel those shadows. And we don’t long with empty hope. We long with eager expectation! In fact, we can rejoice because Immanuel has come to us! We live in the shadow of the night, but it is not the night. It is only the shadow of the night. Christ, the Bright Morning Star, has come and has won the victory over all darkness and night. That is absolutely certain and completely real! We still live in the shadows for now and at times those shadows seem very deep and disturbing. Yet we can rejoice! The Light of the World has come and is dispelling the shadows in a way that looking at the bright red, green and blue Christmas lights cannot. That is our hope and that is our comfort in this Advent season.
Come, Immanuel, come!