Isaiah 9: 2-7
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
Practice hope? Surely we do this every Christmas, unless we think we’ve grown up and reached a level of maturity where we no longer need hope?
This image expresses, not a child’s hope of presents, but a prisoner’s hope of release one day in the future. Today all appears confined by the four walls of a cell, but one day …
Some eight centuries before Jesus was born at Bethlehem hope is freshly injected.
- The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.
- They lived in a land of shadows, but now light is shining on them.
Eight centuries is a long time to live in hope! ‘Living in hope’, however, is how we are called to walk.
Have you written down where, in this passage, God has grabbed your attention? Now, on this first day of Advent write down your refections in relation to these words:
- What am I hoping for from God?
But also …
- What have I lost hope for from God?
Last year I moved house, from urban Bristol to village Somerset. I now know more about darkness … literally when there is no moon I can’t see one foot in front of the other when I go out to shut the chickens in at night. But I know where the coop is, because I have the position clearly in my mind, from seeing it in the light.
I suggest God wants to resurrect your hope. Bring any buried hopes out again into the open. Name them in God’s presence and may you begin to re-experience the joy of hope, yet realised, this Advent.
Dear Lord, meet me in my hopelessness. Resurrect the hope I have lost and enable me, by the power of your Holy Spirit, to be infected again by your joy, which arises when hope is rooted in you and your ways.
In Jesus name. Amen.