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December 16th

Day 16

Isaiah 9:2-7

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 Counsellor, 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 onwards and for evermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

A Message of Salvation

Christians understand this prophecy, given eight hundred years previously, as being fulfilled in
Jesus, God incarnate. It was delivered to God's People who are to undergo judgement in exile for
their unfaithfulness to Him. It is a promise of certain, glorious hope, for them and for people of all
nations and for all time. The Lord God is both Judge and Saviour.

The promise is so sure it is expressed as having already happened. Into the darkness, devastation
and distress, light has dawned, burdens are lifted and there is freedom and great joy.

This is because an ideal ruler will be born, a special child gifted, coming in humility and
vulnerability. His throne-names indicate His divinity and supremacy:
Wonderful Counsellor – one of inspired, wise judgement and understanding,
Mighty God – one of divine strength and power,
Everlasting Father – one of unfailing love, care and compassion,
Prince of Peace – one of peace and justice.

He will bear the burden of government and rule for ever. This promise is guaranteed by God's zeal
for His People. Nearly three thousand years after Isaiah's time, we are acutely aware of gloom,
darkness and distress in the world, due to oppression, injustice, wars, persecution, natural
disasters, climate change, disease, the coronavirus pandemic, the economic situation. We are
aware of people suffering from homelessness, unemployment, mental and physical illness, poor
relationships. We are preparing to celebrate Jesus's birth and the coming of His Kingdom whilst
millions still have never heard of Jesus nor the message of Salvation.

Lord God, we thank you for your coming in Jesus. May we and all your People be messengers of
that Good News which will illuminate the darkness of the world, and reflect His Light in our lives,
for your glory. Amen

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