Christmas was built on prophecy. Long before Jesus was born a baby in a Bethlehem manger… the prophet Isaiah was proclaiming God’s promise that “people walking in darkness have seen a great light!”
Two features of Isaiah’s prophecies concerning the coming messiah are: 1) the world is a dark and dangerous place heading for destruction; 2) God’s chosen King is coming to usher in an age of victory, peace, and prosperity.
Have you ever experienced a season of darkness in your life? It can be demoralizing and despairing. During times of struggle we can begin to doubt that anything good can come out of it. We can even make choices under duress that make matters worse… deepening the sense that life is out of control. The Israelites spent centuries wrestling with injustice, oppression, struggling and suffering between the time Isaiah prophesied and the time Jesus was born. When life is dark, we NEED a word of hope and promise. We NEED encouragement to keep going. We NEED someone to shed light on our darkness and show us the way to a future of victory, peace, and prosperity. Even though we NEED it… it can be so hard to muster the faith to embrace God’s promises.
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
6 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 Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 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 forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
May Christmas give you the faith to embrace God’s promises.