Unto US… – Jeremy Austill

For several weeks I have sensed this December was important for my spiritual life at present, as well as for the journey ahead. It is the month when my calendar slows some. There are no imminent events to plan and I do not book any preaching engagements. This is a time for me to consider all I have experienced and imagine with God what is to come. It is Advent, a time of reflection and hopeful anticipation. To be honest, I am at times surprised at how my spiritual upbringing has blind spots or misinterpretations. For years I attached the word Advent “high church”, ritual and ultimately a “religious” form. Certainly I have forever been aware that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” But somewhere on the road of Pentecostalism and Evangelicalism I dismissed the idea of Advent as something my liturgical friends in the faith conjured up as another empty activity. Yes, I am willing to admit places of ignorance and condescending thought processes.

While I will probably not institute many of the traditions of Advent into my life, what could be more enriching to my soul and enlivening to my spirit than to lean into the story of the birth of Christ? 

To contemplate it on a deeper level and allow myself to be enveloped in the mystery and majesty of our newborn King…to sink myself into the beauty and awe of the Word becoming flesh…Emmanuel, God with us. 

All of this leads me to Isaiah 9:2-7. Read it with me and soak in all of the splendid goodness.

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 break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their
shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod…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 his 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!

This is the story of Christmas…the story of God and humanity…the story of Jesus…the story of us. Although, these verses don’t really need any additional commentary, I will add my thoughts.

The Great Light shining in
the darkness…

What an image of
hope! For those groping in the dark, confused by the inability to see…for those
afraid and cold in the night…for those trying to find their way home. He is the
light, which brings warmth. He is the light, which shows the way. He is the
light, which pushes away the fear.

Broken yokes & rods and
lifted burden…

He comes as a
liberator from the slavery to sin. He comes as the deliverer from the one who
intends great harm. He is the one who lifts the one worn down by the weight of
the world and hunched over by the struggles of life. He combats the oppression of illegitimate governments, gives remedy to our lack and defends those unable to give defense.

War is Over…

The warrior no
longer needs marching boots or uniform. The One comes to establish peace and
remove from us the stains of our battles. He then turns those battle garments
into fuel for the fire in our soul. We war no more. We are violent no more. We
hate no more. We rage no more. We are angry no more. We violate no more. We
transgress no more. We trespass no more.

Unto us a Child is born…

Unto US.
Committed into our weathered hands to be handled. The pristine of heaven
entrusted into the hands of the soiled of the earth. To be handled delicately
with tenderness. How beautiful that we were sent a child, to watch grow. It is
a picture of our faith, which grows through the years becoming more capable and
sturdy as we handle it with care.

He will govern with fairness
and justice…

In a world of
corrupt government, greed, violence, turf wars, and agenda based decisions
making…to be governed with fairness and justice. Oh how refreshingly sweet. In
a world that increasingly longs for and cries out for fairness and justice, His
Kingdom is the antithesis of the surrounding world systems.

His peaceful government will
never end…

All good things
must come to an end…with the exception of His rule. There is no time stamp.
There is no rise and fall. There is no economic calamity. There is no
transition of power to rock the boat. There is no decaying infrastructure. His
rule is as timeless as the ocean and as dependable as the rising sun.

He is beautifully described…

Wonderful…oh yes
He is. Counselor…oh His
wisdom surpasses all. Mighty God…strong
and mighty, mighty in battle. Everlasting
Father…We are never too old to stay in his house & he never goes absent. Prince of Peace…We
all have an inner aching for peace and He is the ultimate authority in the land
of peace.

The Lord is passionately
committed to this plan…

He is not a
casual observer in the affairs of men. He is not heavenly paparazzi. He is not
an inactive reader of the story of time. He established the plan and is
passionately committed to its fulfillment. Any hope we have concerning our
lives, his passion for the good to land on your shores is greater than your
own.

My heart swells with such admiration, affection, joy, jubilation, awe and peace. Welcome to Christmas…Tis the Season to sink deeply into wonder.

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