Today, I’d like you to read Isaiah 9:1-7, even if you have read it many times in the past. As you read, think about what you expect out of the Christmas season. What are you anticipating? What do you think will happen in the next few weeks?
Isaiah wrote his prophecy several hundred years before Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem. Isaiah didn’t know when Jesus would be born, who his mother would be, how Jesus would live and die and live again, or any of those details. All he knew was that there were people in his time who were in distress and were being oppressed, and that eventually God would send a ruler who would make everything right for all time.
Did Jesus fulfill this prophecy written by Isaiah? That question leads to one of the most controversial questions in all the world: how do you understand Jesus of Nazareth? For those of us who understand the connection between Jesus and Isaiah 9:1-7, we can rejoice that our Savior has come, that the Prince of Peace has broken the bars of oppression, that the newborn child in Bethlehem grew up and now reigns over the kingdom of God for all time.
Sometimes I wonder if we take those statements for granted. Do we truly grasp the significance of Jesus fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy? Are we able to identify with “walking in darkness” so that we can understand “seeing a great light”? Will we allow the Lord’s holy zeal to bring about peace, justice, and righteousness in our world?
Or will we allow Christmas to be a sentimental holiday reserved for seasonal decorations, gift exchanges, and sweet desserts?
Throughout this month (and beyond), consider the truth of our faith: that Jesus Christ, the Son of God born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago, has fundamentally changed our world, our society, our relationships, and our personal experiences. His kingdom will endure forever and ever!