I was asked to contribute a couple of entries to this year’s Advent Devotional series at Mondoville College. Here’s the one I wrote for today.
Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.
2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
4 For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.
5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
8 The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.
9 And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart,
10 The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.
11 Therefore the Lord shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and join his enemies together[.]
— Isaiah 9:1-11 (KJV)
Christmas is nearly here, and we continue to celebrate the coming of the Lord. Isaiah prophesied this coming, and when we read his words we can get a sense of the joy that will be here.
I frequently tell my students that Christianity is a comic religion – not in the sense that it’s a barrel of laughs, but in the fact that it promises a happy ending, a reintegration of God and humanity, a restoration of the way things should be. A climax in that story is what I call the “Philippians moment”, when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess Christ’s Lordship.(2:10-11) But I could as easily call it the “Isaiah moment”, because in today’s passage, he’s talking about the same thing.
The day is finally going to come when everyone gets it, from the people who have walked in darkness even to Ephraim and the Samaritans – and even to those of us who don’t necessarily know who any of those folks were. We’ll all know, and we’ll all be together. Isaiah knows this, and we should as well.
Heavenly Father, help us remember Your desire to unite us with You and with one another, in this season of Your coming, and always. This we pray, in Jesus’s name, Amen.
Enjoy your day, gang!