But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
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.
The Messiah by Kristin
In 1997, I was starting a new phase of life, living in Victorian Village with my younger sister who was a newly transplanted undergrad at Ohio State. Neither of us were attending a church and I personally had no interest in doing so. We had grown up in a church-going family — Dad was a pastor. But I had lost all interest in attending church, worship, etc.
Then one December day, I was driving down Neil Avenue and happened to see the sign at King Avenue UMC proclaiming “Join us this Sunday for Handel’s Messiah.” In a moment truly orchestrated by God, my sister saw the same sign on her way home from class. So when I said, “Hey, that big church on the corner is doing Messiah this weekend. You want to go?” she replied, “I was going to ask you the same thing!” So we went to the service and thus began parallel, yet separate, journeys back into a faith community that has led us both to Stone Village.
Advent is about birth and new life. When I read Isaiah 9:6 I cannot help but hear a church choir in my mind, proclaiming in every note the coming of Christ, the Savior, who came to show us a new way of living, of loving. What a beautiful way to be reminded during Advent that we can be born to new lives in Christmas — in Christ.
Come be born anew in me, Savior. Be the new life in me that my soul cries out for as I am lost and alone in the wilderness. Show me a new way to live and to love. Amen.