Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Christmas in Isaiah- The Lifetime Perspective

I wanted to devote my Christmas season blog to the incredible Old Testament book, Isaiah.

The prophet, Isaiah, was married with children. His name means- "The Lord Saves". The backdrop of his life is found in II Kings 15-20.

The book is a compilation of his God given messages from 740-700 BC. Most scholars believe he was a resident of Jerusalem and a prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah.

Christmas is a compilation of years of memories- they are milestones. I find it interesting that prisoners often think of their incarceration in terms of 'Christmases'. We all tend to mark these times as special.

Oh the memories of Christmas! My mom and dad and brothers and family. The excitement of trees and gifts, Pajamas and hot chocolate.

But there are hard memories too. My first sad memory of Christmas involved the story of 'The Little Match Girl'- I remember my mom thinking it was important for me to know that story. And the sadness is always loss of loved ones- growing past the magic- the knowledge of people who are poor, hungry and cold- and watching your kids grow up. Oh I miss the magic of the 'little years' with them.

There is a sadness to Isaiah's life and message also.

God gives the prophet a very hard task:

Is 6: 9 And he said, “Go, and say to this people:

“‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
10 Make the heart of this people dull,
and their ears heavy,
and blind their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”

11 Then I said, “How long, O Lord?”
And he said:
“Until cities lie waste
without inhabitant,
and houses without people,
and the land is a desolate waste,
12 and the Lord removes people far away,
and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.

13 And though a tenth remain in it,
it will be burned again,
like a terebinth or an oak,
whose stump remains
when it is felled.”
The holy seed is its stump.

Can you imagine?

So what in the world does this have to do with Christmas?

Well, throughout the book... there is hope in the midst of judgment.

This Book has awesome promises of the Christmas story.

But even the Christmas story is not all candy canes and coco.

The Book of Revelation portrays a dragon waiting to devour the Child (Rev. 12)

Isaiah had a hard life and hard message.

Our life can be a hard life and hard message.

But the Christmas story never loses its power to heal, comfort, and offer hope!

Stay tuned over the next few weeks and see the beauty in the storm!

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