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The Marvel of the One We’re Waiting For

I wonder how it is for you this year. As you hear the familiar Advent and Christmas passages, is there anything that feels new to you, deeper somehow, or alive in a different way in the context of this year’s circumstances?

Way back in Junior High School, I memorized God’s promise of a baby who would be our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. But this year, with bombs dropped both in Israel and by her, with her own dead nearing 1,200 and the people killed by her attacks approaching 20,000, I sense a different weight to this passage, a deeper awareness of how desperately our world needs Jesus to be every one of those things for us:

  • our Wonderful Counselor amidst all the pain and hatred and trauma
  • the Mighty God who alone is strong enough, wise enough, and loving enough to set things right
  • the Everlasting Father who loves every Israeli, every Palestinian, and every anxious news-watcher with compassion, wisdom, and justice unshaken by our world’s violence, confusion, and determined side-taking
  • and—thanks be to God!—the Prince of Peace who will one day rule with perfect love and perfect justice.

And, wonder of wonders, he will do all this from David’s throne, that place where, right now, nothing seems either right or easily solvable.

But isn’t this the marvel of Christmas, that God comes right into the midst of our most painful and pain-causing places with his own perfection, hidden at first, but no less potent in his healing, shalom-bringing, setting-right glory?

As we near Christmas, read these promises again with me, will you? Read them slowly, letting them sink deep, lighting a candle in the darkness and extending hope into the places where you need it. And notice, perhaps, if there’s a word or phrase that stands out to you today, a gift for this day that feels like it was written especially for you.

The boots of all those invading troops,

                        along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood,

            Will be piled in a heap and burned,

                        a fire that will burn for days!

            For a child has been born—for us!

                        the gift of a son—for us!

            He’ll take over

                        the running of the world.

            His names will be: Amazing Counselor,

                        Strong God,

            Eternal Father,

                        Prince of Wholeness.

            His ruling authority will grow,

                        and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.

            He’ll rule from the historic David throne

                        over that promised kingdom.

            He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing

                        and keep it going

            With fair dealing and right living,

                        beginning now and lasting always.

            The zeal of GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies

                        will do all this.

(Isaiah 9:5-7, The Message)

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Photo by Dan Kiefer on Unsplash

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Connie Storr

    Thank you, Carolyn for this and all your thoughtful, faith-filled insights so beautifully written. You are a blessing.

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