“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” – Isaiah 9:2-7
The prophet Isaiah speaks to a nation whose people were oppressed. Here in 2013, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we know very little about national oppression – we vote our leaders into office, for better or for worse, we are free to voice our beliefs, worship our gods, publish our words, work for a living, etc. etc. etc. You know the list of our freedoms.
For most of us, oppression manifests itself in quieter, darker, more internal ways. There are a myriad ways our hearts may be heavy, the burden across our shoulders pressing our gazes to the ground so that we can’t see the great light. It could be the burden of debt, the burden of illness, the burden of disease, the burden of addiction, the burden of want, the burden of hunger, the burden of discontentment, the burden of depression, the burden of helplessness in the face of so many other griefs and injustices. It is all so heavy.
What do we yearn for in times of trouble? Maybe a wise counselor who could give guidance and encouragement. Maybe a mighty God who can defeat the oppressors. Maybe an everlasting father whose love and embrace can lift us up out of the darkness. Maybe a prince of peace, who can deliver a calm that passes understanding in the middle of the storm. We yearn for justice. We yearn for righteousness.
God is eager to deliver these things – that’s what zeal is – an eagerness, a fervor, a passion, a desire, and it is this zeal that promised to shatter the yoke that burdens us and destroy the rod of the oppressor.
Who is this Deliverer? He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. “…In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:4-5
Advent Activity: Make Cinnamon Ornaments
The kids and I are off today for the last day of Thanksgiving break, so I thought we’d make a few cinnamon ornaments for homemade Christmas gifts. These were great when we made them a few years back, and maybe our friends and family are ready for them again. Here’s an easy cinnamon ornament recipe.