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A prophet’s message promised “THE child”

December 13, 2023

Daily Scripture

Isaiah 9:2-7

2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.
    On those living in a pitch-dark land, light has dawned.
3 You have made the nation great;
    you have increased its joy.
They rejoiced before you as with joy at the harvest,
    as those who divide plunder rejoice.
4 As on the day of Midian, you’ve shattered the yoke that burdened them,
    the staff on their shoulders,
    and the rod of their oppressor.
5 Because every boot of the thundering warriors,
    and every garment rolled in blood
    will be burned, fuel for the fire.
6 A child is born to us, a son is given to us,
    and authority will be on his shoulders.
    He will be named
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
7 There will be vast authority and endless peace
    for David’s throne and for his kingdom,
    establishing and sustaining it
    with justice and righteousness
    now and forever.
The zeal of the LORD of heavenly forces will do this.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Israelites first believed God’s promise was about human kings, David’s descendants (cf. 2 Samuel 7:12-16). Isaiah’s vision ran deeper. He said light would pierce the world’s darkness, peace be so universal that people would burn all blood-soaked garments, and hope, justice and righteousness would reign. And that did not depend on some awesome superhero flying into the scene. “A child is born to us.” As Steve Earle’s song put it, “this miracle they prized was nothing but a child.” *

  • Isaiah wrote in the context of Israel as a distinct earthly nation, one facing the prospect of defeat and exile at the hands of Babylon’s mighty army. What do you see in his Old Testament promises about God’s kingdom might have led people to expect something different than Jesus meant when he talked about his Kingdom? What parts (including the “child” promise) might have helped people grasp and accept Jesus’ Kingdom message?
  • “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. On those living in a pitch-dark land, light has dawned,” God’s prophetic messenger Isaiah wrote. Yet even after he met Jesus, the apostle Paul could say, “Now we see a reflection in a mirror…. now I see partially” (1 Corinthians 13:12). In what ways has Jesus already brought light into your dark world? In what ways are you waiting in hope for the full brilliance of God’s light?

Lord, so much in my world, globally and locally, tugs me toward hopelessness. Renew and reinforce my ability to live in the light and the hope of your glorious kingdom. Amen.

GPS Insights

Jennifer Creagar

Jennifer Creagar

Jennifer Creagar is the Community Assistance Coordination Director in Resurrection's Congregational Care Ministry. She is married and loves spending time with her family, and she enjoys writing and photography.

One of my favorite moments each Christmas is the end of the Candlelight Christmas Eve service. The lights go out and for a few moments, we stand together in the darkness, waiting. Then the first candle glimmers in the darkness, and slowly moves around the room until we are standing together in the light, and in the hope that Jesus brings. 

Those moments while we stand in the darkness waiting remind me that, even in the darkness, we aren’t alone. We wait together for the blessing and the light. We don’t receive the light alone, either, and we don’t receive it because we demanded it, or even because we deserve it. We receive the light of Christ’s coming only because God loves us and we have chosen to seek the light that was promised when we were walking in darkness.

Sometimes the world seems dark. The news isn’t good, full of violence and disaster. Reading this, you may also be struggling with loss or darkness of another kind. But Isaiah’s prophecy promised that light will dawn and we will see great light because of the child born to bring us light and mercy and endless peace, now and forever. And on Christmas Eve, we stand together and wait, and then sing with joy that the light has come, and we do it together. Jesus brings us together.

Lord God, we thank you for the miracle of light, and the miracle of standing together to receive it, no matter where we are, or how dark it seems. When we stand in your light, we are never alone. We wait together, joyful in the knowledge that you have promised us light and mercy and endless peace now and forever. Amen.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* “Nothing But a Child,” written by Steve Earle, released October 17, 1988. From Click here to hear Kathy Mattea’s version of this modern Christmas song.