It is difficult for us today to fully understand the relief of a light shining in the darkness. We are rarely in total darkness, and even more rarely unable to get out of the darkness: in this day of electric light we do not get stuck in the dark at sunset. I thought of the parable of the woman and the lost coin: if she had not found her coin before sunset, the search would have to wait until sunrise, or be continued in the poor light of an expensive and precious candle. Any work not finished by sunset had to wait until morning. Nursing a sick family member through a dark night, perhaps not even lit by the moon, would find you rejoicing at the sight of the first dawn.
By trying to enter into and understand this deep darkness I hope we will find even greater joy when the light shines into the darkness this Christmas.
Optional reading: go deeper by reading more of Isaiah chapter nine.