The Light is Coming
by Elaine Pierce
How are you doing? Is your Christmas shopping all done? House decorated? Fun activities planned for the two-week school break? Or is your list a mile long, and you're way behind? I encourage you to stop, breathe, and remember that Advent is the time of "watchful waiting" as we prepare for Jesus' birth. The fact that you're reading this reflection means that you are taking some time to be in the word, and that's a start toward focusing on, as they say, the reason for the season.
On these Sundays in Advent, we've been reading passages from the book of Isaiah. Isaiah is quoted more in the New Testament than all the other Old Testament prophets combined. He lived in Judah, and the nation was under captivity. Isaiah prophesies God's deliverance of the people from the Babylonians, which happened in 538 B.C. But we also see Isaiah's words as prefiguring the greater deliverance from sin through Christ.
Verse 7 is worth reading again and again:
"This is what the LORD says - the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: 'Kings will see you and rise up, princes will see and bow down, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.'"
Let that sink in. God has chosen you. (And right before this verse, in verse 6, the LORD says that "I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.") God has chosen me. He is welcoming us, non-Jews, into the light and life of his kingdom. Kings and princes will come and go, but those who ask Jesus into their life will live forever. This passage makes it clear that God knew us before we were born (v. 1 and 5). God has a plan for us and a plan for his world, and he will accomplish that plan. (Isaiah 9:7 says "The zeal of the LORD almighty will accomplish this.")
As we wait for Christmas, let's wait joyfully, expectantly, and with great hope. Yes, we have many distractions. Yes, we will fail to fully embrace his presence, and we will find ourselves consumed with tasks that don't reflect his glory and his purpose. He will wait for us to return, and he will welcome us with open arms. Yes, he is good. All the time.
Thank you, Lord, that you knew me in my mother's womb. As we walk through the busyness of the holiday season, help us to wait patiently and with joy and hope for your birth. Your plans will be fulfilled. Help us to be instruments of peace and reconciliation in a hurting world. Amen.