I wonder what your comfort food is? I wonder what would be comfort food for the soul? What would fill the emptiness inside you? What would warm our hearts when the world around us seems cold and indifferent? What might soothe our hurt places, light up the shadowy places, and offer hope when we are weary or frustrated. The prophet Isaiah has the answer
We can’t get much better, more fulfilling, or hope-filled words than Isaiah 9:2, 3-7; these words of proclamation warm your heart when the world is fractured. They soothe our hurt places, shed light upon the shadows, and offer hope in the midst of confusion and despair.
The prophet Isaiah lived in the southern part of Israel, during a time when the northern part was being chewed up and forced to live under Assyrian rule. It was a scary, uncertain, and dark time in Israel's history. God needed someone to speak a word of hope. The people of God needed someone to remind them of who was there for them from beginning to end and everywhere in between. What was the name given to the one who loved Israel beyond measure even when they wrestled against that love? Who stuck by Israel’s side through the wild places; through trauma, uncertainty, persecution, famine, illness, oppression, and defeat? God, the Everlasting Father.
The people of God were living in chaotic times and needed something they could count on; someone they could depend on to guide them. A father figure if you will. God in Jesus became that figure and more. How can the one to come - the child to be born be a father? Jesus carried on the father figure image. He was the connecting link between God and God’s people. As he grew, he cared for people. He nurtured the sick. He prayed for people. He was there for all people, even the ones no one wanted or cared about. He was wise in counsel, mighty in love, and modeled how we are to live with and for others.
As we take another step toward the manger, may we find comfort, hope, and peace knowing who it is we will meet there. From everlasting to everlasting. Amen.
Pastor Jenothy Irvine