The Scriptures give us such reason for hope in the midst of our broken world during this Advent season. It should come as no surprise that each audience that received the Christmas story through the centuries faced its own challenges in its own broken world.
Isaiah wrote to a people who had put their hope in the systems of this earth; in idols and unfaithful kings. They were destined to be judged by God and crushed by invading occupying armies. Yet God’s Word expressed reason for them to hope in a coming, eternal King!
have seen a great light…
You have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor….
…For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders….
Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end. (Isaiah 9:2,4,6,7 NIV84, emphasis added)
Many centuries later, at the time of Christ’s birth, those living in occupied Galilee and Jerusalem knew well the yoke of oppression imposed by the Romans and their puppet kings. They were ready for the Messiah to come. These words were written to announce the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy:
Fast forward to 2016. We live in a world of fear and darkness, most people missing the celebration of spiritual reality that comes with the Christmas season. How tempting it still is for us to look for hope in earthly answers. Whether we recognize it or not, our souls still cry out for things to be made right, for fuller manifestation of the realities that are promised in the Savior.
May we experience fully the burden-lifting God on whose shoulders even governments rest! I pray that we will grow to live with power, being instruments of righteousness, justice and good news wherever God has placed us. I hope that you have a chance to reflect on all the ways the arrival of Jesus on planet world has brought truly good news to our lives.
How can your celebration of this Christmas season reflect your trust in the one of whose kingdom there will be no end? What does it look like for you to find rest as He shoulders your burdens? How can you encourage others to trust in His strength?