A Great Light
by Kelli B. Trujillo
This past August 21, like most Americans, I donned cardboard glasses with black polymer lenses and headed outside to view the solar eclipse. Watching the moon’s trek across the sun was amazing.
But what I found even more amazing was video footage shared by friends who’d viewed the eclipse from the path of totality. As the moon fully covered the sun, dusk instantly fell. They could see the sun’s brilliant corona fanning out from the disc of the moon. Stars normally hidden by daylight were suddenly visible. Nature responded to the abrupt twilight: crickets chirped, bats swooped. The campground filled with cheers of excitement. Complete strangers rejoiced together, abandoning anonymity in their collective sense of wonder.
Once I saw that video, I immediately marked my calendar: April 8, 2024. On that date my city will be in the path of totality of another solar eclipse. I know it is coming—and I’m so eager.
Scripture is rich with the spiritual imagery of darkness and light. Consider Isaiah’s promise: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (9:2). In Isaiah 60, he prophesied, “Your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you,” clarifying that all “nations will come to your light” (vv. 1, 3).
We find echoes of these promises in the New Testament: We hear it in Zechariah’s song as he proclaimed, “the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Luke 1:78–79). We hear it in Simeon’s praise as he called baby Jesus “a light for revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:32). We hear it in Matthew’s gospel, as he declared Jesus the fulfillment of Isaiah 9’s promise (Matt. 4:16). And we hear it in the very words of Jesus: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
This season, we intentionally dwell in the darkness of longing. We contemplate the experience of God’s people awaiting the First Advent. We reflect on our own hopeful anticipation of Christ’s promised return. The brilliance of a total solar eclipse is only a preview of the illuminating glory of Christ’s future reign, when, as Isaiah promised, “the Lord will be your everlasting light” (60:19). We know it is coming—and we are so eager.
Kelli B. Trujillo is an Indianapolis-based writer and an editor for Christianity Today. For a beautifully-designed PDF version of this study, or to get copies for your church, visit MoreCT.com/Advent