Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. – Isaiah 60:1-3
Here in Wisconsin in early January the sun doesn’t rise until 7:23am. It’s tough to “rise and shine!” and get out of a nice, warm bed for work and school when it’s still dark out, isn’t?
Well, Isaiah has those same words for you: Rise and shine! But he’s not talking about getting out of bed in the morning and facing the day. He’s talking about something much more important, something that actually will make you look at your life differently. He says to you: “Arise, shine, for your light has come.” So what’s so special about this light that you should want to rise and shine? This light that Isaiah says should cause us to rise and shine is special, it is welcomed, it is something to long for, because not of what it is, but who it is.
It’s what made some wealthy men leave their home and follow a star for many months and hundreds of miles. Men who were looking for the one born the King of the Jews and who maybe knew of some of the prophecies about him made in the Old Testament Scriptures, maybe the very words from Isaiah before us. Men who were perhaps disheartened, because they realized that contentment wasn’t found in their wealth. They found contentment was found in giving it away. Joy wasn’t found in the comforts of this life. They found that joy was gaining that which their hearts were longing for. They came to find peace isn’t found in having everything just right in life, but in knowing that we are alright with God. And all this because of a newborn King that brought light into the darkness of their lives. And into yours too.
And so, rise and shine, dear Christian! Light has entered into our darkness, the Light who is Christ, the One God had promised to send all the way back when darkness first entered into God’s perfect creation with sin. The Light that has pierced the darkness of your guilt and shame. He is called Immanuel, God among us, who lived the sinless life we cannot. Light that has come into this world and his name is Jesus, which means Savior, your Savior. He allowed himself to be overtaken by the darkness, to suffer the pain and sadness of the outer darkness of hell, to taste the darkness of death and the tomb, all so that it could no longer claim you or make you afraid. All so that you can have the light of life right now as you live surrounded by darkness. All so that you can hold on to the hope that one day you will get to live in his eternal light.
Arise and shine, for your light has come and where you find just what you seek – the antidote to all the disheartenment of this life. To find what the Magi were seeking too – contentment, not found in hoarding wealth, but in sharing it with others because my contentment is in Christ. Joy that isn’t found in the comforts in this life, that’s found in Jesus and the comfort only he can give. Peace, not found in having everything just right in my life, but knowing through my Savior I am alright with God. To find purpose for our lives, yes, even for the mundane tasks of a Monday, all has new meaning, all gives me reason to rise and shine, because it’s all done to the glory of the Lord that shines on us. All because of this newborn King that we continue to worship, continue to offer ourselves, continue to seek!