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.
The title of Mel Bringle’s hymn “Light Dawns on a Weary World” resonates with this ancient and familiar passage from Isaiah. Though the Hebrews walked in the darkness of captivity and exile, we, too, in 2015 walk in darkness when the daily rhetoric of violence, inhumanity, and hubris tends to overcome our hope of the promised light of this Advent season.
The circumstances of Jesus’ birth suggest that from the beginning, Jesus would be unlike any king ancient people knew. His birth in a stable and the visit by shepherds from the lowest tier of society suggest a humble king who would bring hope to the marginalized. And the visit of wise men from the East, who were of a different religion or scientific persuasion, could suggest that the light that came in Christ was light for all the world.
A different divinity, “Wonderful Counselor…Prince of Peace” and a kingdom established and upheld with justice and righteousness. What revolutionary ideas for ancient times as for today.
May light dawn on our weary world in this season as in our individual ways we strive to speak for those who have no voice and share the peace of Christ. We are called to be His hands and feet in our world desperate for His peace and hope for a better future.
God of light,
Shine your light into the dark places of our world this day. Help us to be instruments of your peace as we go about our daily lives. Lead us in ways that we may give hope to those who have lost your light in their lives. May your peace touch those who seek only violent solutions to differences that they may be willing to choose a path of reconciliation and compassion.