(Wondering what this is? For more information, see the introduction.)
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest,
as people exult when dividing plunder.
For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor, you have broken.
For all the boots of the tramping warriors
and all the garments rolled in blood
shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9
Looking forward and longing for peace can highlight the darkness of our time, the many ways in which we lack peace. It is easy to despair. The promise of peace–and the ways in which we sometimes glimpse God’s peace and righteousness breaking into our world, even here and now–offer sparks of light which hold the promise of the “great light,” the Christ child who has come and is coming. As we hold fast to the glimmers of light we see even now, we continue to pray, “come Lord Jesus, come quickly.”
At thy great Name, exalted now,
all knees in lowly homage bow;
al things in heaven and earth adore,
and own thee King for evermore.
This Advent devotional is intended to help you enter into the season of advent. We hope you enjoy it! Many thanks to the Rev. Paul Jennings for his help putting these reflections together.