Progressing through Advent!

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. You will enlarge the nation of Israel and its people will rejoice.
They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian. The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire. For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!
-Isaiah 9:2-7 (NLT)

There is no doubt in my mind that this has been one of the toughest holiday seasons I have had to work through in many years. There is the death of my boss-- the sadness and pain of that, as well as the uncertainty for me [career-wise] that it brings. There are also the serious health struggles my poor wife has been dealing with that have made things difficult for her and, consequently, for us as a couple. It has been quite a struggle and a bit of a test of faith for me, as well. I don't struggle with the idea of the Christmas season or the message it was originally intended to convey by any means, but I have had many things that on my mind that I could easily allow to hamper the festive nature of the holiday. My number one struggle right now is in the area of fear.

I am reminded by Isaiah that I now have a counselor, a Prince of Peace who has come for me and for all who will accept Him. When I really think about the message of Advent and the hope that is on the horizon for all who believe when it was written, it is exceedingly hard to live in the kind of fear I sometimes find myself contending with. The prophecy came true. A light now shines in the land of my deep darkness. His name is Jesus.

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