The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.

My family will light the first Advent candle before our dinner tonight, launching the season’s countdown to glory. We will track Mary’s journey to the stable each night in December, lighting candles in her wake until our dining room is ablaze in celebration of the Light of the World born in us.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;

Babies are waited for and birthed every day of the year. They are a miracle we take in stride as if there’s nothing preposterous about atoms turning into flesh with souls. Every baby birthed is the sign of Divinity at work, but only one baby born was Divinity himself. His human birth opened the door for our spiritual birth as children of God.

And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Mighty God and Eternal Father in the form of the most vulnerable member of humanity? We hardly know how to see him as one of our own. Yet someone had to carry him around before he could sit up and crawl–and make the lame walk. His mother had to nurse him before he could feed himself–and thousands more with a few loaves of bread.

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

The Child we anticipate at Christmas was one of the kids in the neighborhood, at home among us in every way possible. He was so much like us that many did not recognize his Divinity. But for all who look for him and welcome this Child as Immanuel, God with us, he becomes our greatest hope with flesh on.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

During this season of Advent, we will remember how our hopes were fulfilled in the first coming of Jesus. We will also renew our confident hope that he is coming again as promised. Join us here through the next few weeks as we look for him in the midst of our human lives like his–and get ready to welcome him again when he brings heaven to earth and is “God with us” forever!

References: Isaiah 9:2, 6; John 1:14; Romans 15:13 (New Living Translation)