The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine…For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!
Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
Who do I know whose life is cold or weary? Who in my daily encounters has lost their way on a dark path? Who is longing for some real assurance about their life being worthwhile? Who needs the floodlight of hope to be switched on today?
Incredibly absurd as it may seem, that hope can be found in a baby whose name means “The Lord Saves”, and whose nickname (Emmanuel) means “God with us”! These names, the story that goes with these names are all very familiar. I’ve gotten rather used to them. Too comfortable sometimes it seems. When that happens, my spiritual light goes dim – so much so that the story of Jesus no longer illuminates my soul or enables me to offer a lantern of hope to anyone else’s darkness.
But the words of Isaiah 9, written hundreds of years before Jesus’ light shined on the earth, remind me that my hope is in these remarkable, highly unlikely promises. I have to remember when I am guilty of unbelief for my own heart or for someone else that God loves to make the unrealistic, real. He delights in shock and awe. In our own limited human experience, he longs for us to recognize that he is without limitation.
So, he asks us to enter into a small stable and put our hope in a baby. A baby whose life story is possibly the most well-known in history. A baby who would grow up to serve, give, heal, encourage, challenge, and sacrifice. A baby who would know both human frailty and God’s boundless power. A baby who would one day say yes to a cross he did not deserve – all to keep the light of hope burning in our hearts. All so we would trust that God is there, he does love us and longs to walk beside us. All so we would step into a life that lives, breathes and finds sustenance in the warmth of that light.