“But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
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.” Isaiah 9:1-7
A Light Shines in the Darkness
By Sara Faye Fudge
In the darkest of times, for the nation Israel and for us today, the light that is the Lord breaks through the gloom. It shines and rescues from oppressors, both marauding armies with brute force and blood, and those forces of wickedness that seem to pervade our culture and sadly, our own lives. These dark times are actually the best times for seeing God work in his own transformative way. The light that illumined the created universe again shines through our own darkness, filling his creation with light and goodness.
The astounding way God accomplished this for Israel was not with stronger armies or crusading causes, but through the life of an innocent child. This child, this son given to us, would be the manifestation of the very essence of God and his names reflect the wonderful, wise, mighty, eternal nature of God. His power and might would conquer this world, his favor and protection would prosper the nation, and his rule of peace and righteousness would know no end.
As we await again the celebration of the coming of Jesus, we praise God for his incredible gift that shines light into our dark hearts of sin and doubt. He offers us rescue from our sins which oppress us, comfort and counsel for each day’s needs, and continuing peace for now and forever. And in his presence we find gladness of heart.