So often this passage from Isaiah 9 is read in connection with Advent and Christmas – the looking ahead to the coming Messiah, but I heard this passage in a different way this morning…
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 as on the day of Midian.
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 Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually,
and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
I read these words today and got praying about a friend of mine who shared recently about struggles going on with one of his kids. There’s a lot weighing down for this young person and for their parents. What I prayed for was that light would begin to shine into those places that feel dark and overpowering, to those places where what once seemed bright and clear was now dark and foggy. Ultimately, yes, this prophecy is a message about God’s work with the whole world, but that work isn’t just outside of us, but it is within each of our individual lives. That is my prayer for my friend his family and for us all – that the light can begin to shine just like this light shines in this picture.