As we celebrate the birth of the Lord, let us dedicate a few moments of this joyous day to meditate on these prophetic words…
Christ is born! A new age has come to the old world. Hope has its answer. Emmanuel! God is with us! Our hearts swell with joy as, once again, we are given the opportunity to recognize what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. As we celebrate the birth of the Lord, let us dedicate a few moments of this joyous day to pray over, to meditate on the words of Isaiah’s 9th chapter, verses 1-7. With poetic power, these Spirit inspired words give us a powerful view into the meaning of Christ’s coming.
We are told that “there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress.” (verse 1) The long awaited Messiah has come. His kingdom will be like no other. Why? We no longer “walk in darkness,” that is, we are no longer ignorant of our true value, our true worth in the eyes of God. Because of Jesus, a light has dawned” upon us.” (verse 2) We have seen the face of God, and the love of God, in Jesus.
Jesus’ coming into the world initiated a new reality for us. He is, indeed, our Wonder Counselor, teaching us what love looks like in both word and deed. He has given us an insight into our truest meaning and purpose. He has, “shattered the yoke[s] that burden us, the bar[s] across our shoulders, the rod[s] of our oppressors.” (verse 4) We need no longer be slaves to the things of the world. In Jesus, the Mighty God imagined by Isaiah chose to become one with us, to walk with us, to dwell among us and to show us the only true way to find the peace, the justice, and the love that our hearts have yearned for since our unhappy exile from Eden.
In this Child, born in a stable in Bethlehem, we find the only peace worth pursuing. Our belief in him, our commitment to live in accord with his commandment of love, is The Way to the peace that we so earnestly desire. He is the Prince of Peace. Yes, the world is still a place of unimaginable cruelties. Yes, evil seems to abound all around us, but in Jesus Christ alone is there an answer to this evil and these cruelties. A Christian must keep his/her eyes on Christ in order to know how to live in a way that brings our fullest meaning and purpose into our lives.
It is the Prince of Peace who shines a light on the meaninglessness of this world’s cruelties, that shows them for what they really are. It is this Prince who shatters the dark and lifeless illusions of the world, who gives us a vision into our better nature, and the courage to let his light shine through us in the worlds of our daily lives. His rule is the rule of love, that is, a love great enough to conquer both sin and death. In his rule we find liberation. In him we are freed from the illusory burdens of pride, greed, jealousy, anger, lust, gluttony and sloth. We are liberated to live lives of humility, generosity, patience, faithfulness, temperance, and fortitude, out of a strong and abiding love for God, our neighbor, and yes, even our enemies. It is he who gives us the strength to do all of this in the very face of this world’s greatest challenges.
Jesus, in you our fears are dispelled. Your coming has given us reason for our hope. You are our Wonder Counselor, our Mighty God, our Everlasting Father, our Prince of Peace. Help us to praise you and to give you thanks by living our lives in the pure light of your powerful commandment of love. We ask this in the power of your most holy name, Jesus. Amen!
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