Advent Meditation Week 3, 2021

by Dec 13, 2021

The prophets were people who listened to God with their whole hearts and shared the heart of God with His people. This week, I invite you to pray through Isaiah’s prophecy, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’” (Isaiah 9:6)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Think of the joy and hope surrounding the birth of a child. Even in the midst of darkness the hope of new life brings light into the world. How does God use the promise of a child to foreshadow the promise of new life for the world in Him?

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

There is a heavy weight in the burden of government which is given to this innocent babe, yet with this a weight is lifted from the shoulders of humanity. Imagine the transfer of this burden. Is there something in your own life you insist on governing that you struggle to entrust to the Lord? Imagine, in trust, giving this over to Jesus, the God Child.

If this seems uncomfortable let us unpack who this child is. Sit and quietly pray into each of these names and embrace the truth of the little child who embodies all of these things.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

From here let us journey to a field just outside of Bethlehem watching over sheep. Place yourself as one of the shepherds. Darkness has fallen and the stars and the moon shine brightly. You are dusty and exhausted from the work of the day; perhaps you are lulled by the peacefulness of the gentle bleating of the sheep and the smell of the crisp air.

Suddenly, you are shaken from your reverie when a loud chorus and a light brighter than the sun breaks into the darkness. You jump up holding your staff high above your head to protect your flock from imminent danger while simultaneously shielding your eyes with your other arm from the blinding light. As the image before you comes into focus you recognize you are in the presence of an angel. What is your response? How are you feeling? Perhaps you have fallen to the ground in awe. Perhaps you are trembling in fear.

The angel proclaims, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Before you can even begin to grasp this message an even more awesome sight appears as an unfathomable multitude of angels sings out in heavenly tones, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” Allow your senses to be overwhelmed and your heart to be filled with the beauty and splendor of this moment.

Just as quickly as they came, the angels are gone. You look around at the other shepherds in varying states of disbelief. Could it be true? Did this really just happen? When someone cries out, “What are we waiting for?! Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us!” You gather your sheep into your arms and call them by name, running as fast as you can toward the city. As you go, you ask each person you meet along the road if they have seen this newborn king.

Excited and out of breathe you arrive at the entrance to a cave, yet immediately upon arrival a sense of deep peace fills your being. You tiptoe into the cave taking in the lowliness of the conditions and the scent of the animals, yet prevailing over all is the joy which radiates from the beautiful mother cradling in her arms a tiny babe. You fall to your knees and gently reach out your hand in supplication to this beautiful newborn king. You exhale to his mother, “An angel sent us.” As you do, your eyes meet the gentle gaze of the baby as Mary whispers, “His name is Immanuel.” You can feel the pounding of your heart as the the truth of the moment sinks in. The TRUTH is here. Your heart cries out in the desire to give this child a gift befitting all that he is. Yet you are overcome by your inadequacy in this moment for, after all, you have just arrived sweaty and out of breath from the fields. Yet the eyes of Immanuel communicate that your presence is enough, the best gift you can give is yourself. As understanding dawns, you are able to lay before him all that you have been clinging to…giving this newborn child the gift of governing your life. In that instant the joy which radiates from Mary begins to also radiate from you.

As you and your companions walk away from the cave that no longer seems humble, it is with transformed hearts and lives, praising and glorifying God.

(Scripture taken from Luke 2:8-20)

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(Image: Adoration of the Shepherds by Martin von Feuerstein)

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