The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light

The prophecies of the Lord's Advent can be stirring. Here's a much-loved one from Isaiah:

"The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined." (Isaiah 9:2)

"The people who walk in darkness" symbolize people who have faith -- they are walking -- but it's a dim faith, without much knowledge of the genuine truths in the Word. And yet, they are receptive -- when the Lord is born, they welcome the Christian teachings when they hear them; they see a great light. See Arcana Coelestia 597.

The above words of Isaiah brought hope to people of Israel prior to the Lord’s birth on earth. The “great light” that would shine refers to a renewed sight of the Lord’s love and wisdom after a time of darkness.

These words can bring hope to us, too, in times of spiritual darkness and conflict. A new light can dawn in our minds—the start of spiritual renewal—and in the end, the Lord can be born in our hearts as a spirit of goodwill.

At Christmas, there's a special opportunity for this, as people all over the world are celebrating the Lord's birth. And... who doesn't need spiritual renewal?