“All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).”
“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.”
“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 Counsellor, 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 7:14, 9:2, 6-7 NLT
On this Christmas Day we continue to look at Isaiah’s prophecy. When the Son walked the highways and byways of Palestine, He found a people who were indeed living in a time of great darkness. There had not been a prophetic word for over four hundred years, and, worse, the land was occupied by a cruel army who severely suppressed the fiercely independent Jewish nation. But into this “deep darkness” came a “great light”. The Light of the World had arrived. Jesus said as much, in John 8:12, “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life””. He couldn’t have been clearer of His mission as He walked out the Isaiah prophecy amongst His people.
Jesus, the Son of God, was faultless in implementing His mission. But, sadly, He was largely rejected by the very people who so desperately needed Him. We read in Luke 17:25, “But first the Son of Man must suffer terribly and be rejected by this generation“. His own people ended up calling for His execution as a criminal. But they weren’t to know that this was all part of God’s plan. If it wasn’t through God’s plan with the sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary, through His birth, death and resurrection, we would never have found a way to be with God, to experience eternal life. The Apostle Paul referred to this as the mystery of God, and he wrote in Ephesians 3:3-4, “As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me. As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ“.
Jesus was and is God’s Light to the world. He is so desperately needed in our current generation, as He has been in all previous generations. But once again we have a generation of people who reject Him. However, we pilgrims have a golden opportunity, while there is still time, while God’s unlimited grace is still available, to tell the world around us about God’s mysterious plan. We tell the people in our families and communities about the Baby who came two thousand years ago, and who we celebrate in this season of Christmas. We tell everyone about the Baby’s journey into being an itinerant preacher, but with a difference – He was, and is, God’s Son. We tell everyone we can about His sinless life and death for our sins. And we tell everyone He is still alive today, present here on Planet Earth through His Spirit.
The Son of God, the Light of the World, can illuminate our lives, our world. If we let Him. There is no longer a mystery. God’s unlimited love and grace is available for all to access. This season of celebration, the Christmas period, can be full of misery, or it can be full of hope. The best gift this world has ever seen is in God’s hands, and if we look closely, He is holding it out to us. All we have to do is look up out of our circumstances and take it. And as we unwrap it, the Light of the World will burst into a glorious vista, bringing a shining light into our deep darkness.
Dear Father God. I pray today for all those in my family and community who don’t know You, that they too will look up and see Your wonderful gift there for the taking. Amen.