Tuesday, December 20, 2016
by Alex Rodgers
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Advent is one of my favorite seasons in the church year. It’s right up there with Lent, for me. Yes, for some reason I find great comfort in the more somber seasons in the life of the church. I don’t relish waiting in my own life but I do relish the times set aside for waiting in the life of the church.
We wait in Advent for the coming of the Christ child. We wait for Immanuel, God with us. We wait for this story which reminds us that God is with us. And God entered into our world in the most surprising way, through a birth. God did not come to us with cymbal clash or trumpet sound flying through the clouds but through the cries of a mother in labor, through ordinary human experience. God came into this world helpless, as a baby, for us.
The promise here in Isaiah is for the birth of a child, one who will lead, deliver, and bring justice and righteousness. For that time and for the people of Judah, it was a promise worth waiting for. After a time of darkness, they needed a little light.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness ~ on them light has shined.”
What are you waiting for? What are you longing for?
This oracle in Isaiah names several things worth waiting for: an increase in joy, justice, an end to war, righteousness ~ light.
Lord, you promise to come to us. You promise to be with us. Come to us in ordinary ways. Shine your light in our darkness. Bring about joy, peace, justice, and righteousness. We are waiting. Amen.