Traditional scriptures read leading up to Christmas include readings from the book of Isaiah. Many of these texts include prophesies of the coming Messiah, and they are filled with anticipation and hope. Closer to Christmas Eve, sometimes these texts come from the latter half of Isaiah and it is generally understood that these chapters were written to a people who were in exile, having been dragged from their homes and land by the armies of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar. How could it be that we could celebrate themes of peace, hope, joy, and love using these difficult scriptures?
Even so, we may understand today the darkness that comes with feeling far away from God. This entire season from Thanksgiving to Christmas can seem to be more like a rabid shopping frenzy than a period of anticipation and preparation. Emotions rise for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one, divorce, or changes of job and location. Instances of domestic violence and other crimes rise.
And so we choose to look forward with hope. We choose to experience the hope made possible through the deep love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ. We understand that Jesus’ life on earth included times of weeping and anger and disappointment and fear, and we feel the deep compassion and comfort offered to us through the bright light of love and peace and joy and hope. May you be filled with hope as we prepare for Christ and begin to transform the world.