Advent begins on Sunday, December 1 - our house is ready!
Many years ago, to celebrate our December wedding anniversary, my husband and I took the girls to spend the night at my mom and dad’s house, went out to a special dinner, and then to see a movie. It was our ninth anniversary, and the movie happened to be the first installment of the now-legendary Lord of the Rings trilogy. Our anticipation was great. Somehow, though we are children of the 1970’s, we had missed the Tolkien craze and had never read any of the books. But we had heard about this new movie coming out, so in preparation for the release, we had spent several months reading the first book together. It is an excellent story, and made us wonder if the movie could possibly do the book justice.
I remember that winter well because it was 2001. Younger readers can not quite understand how unusual that autumn was, but the September 11 attack on American soil wrought a sea change in our culture. Whatever collective sense of security we had, real or imagined, was severely shaken, and a new sense of darkness crept into everyday life. As a nation, we had enjoyed an unusually long stretch of safety and peace, at least on our own turf. But even a cursory glance in any history book from any culture will show that this is sadly the exception, not the norm. Our time of peace had suddenly ended.
So that December night, when the lights dimmed and the movie began, we were completely drawn into the story. The first few moments of the movie are total blackness, with just the narrator’s haunting voice explaining the plight of Middle Earth…
"The world is changed.
I feel it in the water.
I feel it in the Earth.
I smell it in the air.
Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it…"
The story is told that a deceptive evil was sent into the world long ago by a wicked foe, and a desperate and growing darkness was steadily covering the earth. This evil enemy was defeated once, long ago, but he had now regained his strength and will to destroy. Evil creatures pledged allegiance to him, and with hearts and wills set against all goodness sought to conquer and enslave everyone. Was there any hope at all, or would the darkness succeed and completely blot out all life and laughter forever?
The movie definitely did justice to the book, and kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire running time. Both the author and director brilliantly succeeded in painting into fantasy and fiction the reality of life here on earth. Whether we realize it or not, and whether we like it or not, we are in a life and death struggle for the hearts and souls of all mankind. Our wicked enemy truly was defeated long ago by the power of the Cross, but continues to do great harm in this time of waiting for final justice. Evil has crept into God's beautiful creation, and darkness does cover the earth.
But this is the beauty of Advent - it reminds us…
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
No matter what today’s headlines say, and they happen to say some terrible things, we know that evil will not prevail in the end. No matter how dark the world seems, and it seems to be getting worse all the time, we know that the Great Light of the World really was born on that beautiful night in Bethlehem so long ago. During Advent, we wait, but with hopeful expectancy knowing that our Great King is coming again someday in glory, justice, and power.
This Advent season, I encourage you to take time to read the promise of scripture. Think deeply on the hope that we have in Jesus, and meditate on the goodness of our God who would give His only Son to save us from sin and slavery. Pray for those around you who still walk in darkness and have not yet encountered the Light of the World, that they would know Jesus intimately. Fight the good fight of faith and let your light shine brightly this season, so that many can experience what Jesus promised, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Hi! I'm Mary - mother to two wonderful grown daughters, wife to an incredible husband, and loving our life in the piney woods of Texas... (read more!)