More Light – Advent Week 2


Isaiah once prophesied this:

“The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned…
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
    and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
    will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and for ever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.” – Isaiah 9:2, 5-7

Isaiah was living in dark times. The political leadership had just changed, and after years of stability the nations were in a state of upheaval. Society had lost its way, and was oppressing the poor and vulnerable. Darkness was all around, and looked like it would be here to stay. In the midst of all this, Isaiah saw with spiritual eyes the light that was to come. In the midst of war, he foresaw a future of peace, and an end to all warfare.

It mattered not that it was not fulfilled in his lifetime – nor that it will not truly be fulfilled until Christ’s second coming. The point was that he saw the light.

Here’s a beautiful poem by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, based around Goethe’s last words (‘More light!’)

Let the Light Enter In

The dying words of Goethe.

“Light! more light! the shadows deepen,
And my life is ebbing low,
Throw the windows widely open:
Light! more light! before I go.

“Softly let the balmy sunshine
Play around my dying bed,
E’er the dimly lighted valley
I with lonely feet must tread.

“Light! more light! for Death is weaving
Shadows ’round my waning sight,
And I fain would gaze upon him
Through a stream of earthly light.”

Not for greater gifts of genius;
Not for thoughts more grandly bright,
All the dying poet whispers
Is a prayer for light, more light.

Heeds he not the gathered laurels,
Fading slowly from his sight;
All the poet’s aspirations
Centre in that prayer for light.

Gracious Saviour, when life’s day-dreams
Melt and vanish from the sight,
May our dim and longing vision
Then be blessed with light, more light.

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825-1911)


Today I’m thinking of all who are waiting for the Light, in the midst of dark times. And I’m thankful for the Prophets – both biblical and contemporary, who remind us to see with spiritual eyes, beyond the darkness and war, to the peace and Light that will come.
Over to you: 

  • What helps you to look to the Light in dark times?

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6 Responses to More Light – Advent Week 2

  1. Michael Wenham 4th December, 2016 at 5:21 pm #

    Thanks, Tanya. I’m in a dark place at the mo. Your post and Emma Bridgewater on Desert Island Discs have lit a couple of candles.

    • Tanya 20th February, 2017 at 4:27 pm #

      I never replied to this! Argh. I’m so sorry. How are you at the moment?
      Life sucks. I’m still waiting for more light. Thinking of you.

      • Michael Wenham 20th February, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

        Don’t worry at all. It’s got lighter here – thanks. I’m trying to work out in what way the Bible is the “Word of God” at the moment, in the context of the Synod debate of human sexuality. Basically is it just a document for dissection, or a living communication like a drama….
        Physically I feel I’m slowly wearing out. Very slowly. But I’m sorry life sucks for you. I still pray for the fellowship of ME regularly – that sucks!

        • Tanya 30th June, 2017 at 5:33 pm #

          Michael, you are one of God’s good ones on this earth. I am so thankful for your thoughtfulness – both for people, and about issues and theology. That is all.

  2. JA Andrews 4th December, 2016 at 2:42 pm #

    I love the poem! Your post came into my FB feed right after my friend Karen’s and the two seem similar (She spends Advent literally looking for light in the world around her and posting images each day.)

    The science geek in my gets all excited about the physics of light and how that combines with theology. And you’ve got me thinking of all that again.

    • Tanya 20th February, 2017 at 4:28 pm #

      I keep forgetting you’re a science geek… (Weirdo!!)
      But yes – the dark places to navigate the stars. Awesome. I love your friend Karen’s idea

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