"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace...
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this."
Last Christmas' Marks and Spencers advert on the television has the tagline and theme song to it of "the most wonderful time of the year"! By doing this, the company were obviously promoting the more commercial side of the festive season.
For children, Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year, as they experience the excitement of receiving presents, the legend of Santa, time off school, building snowmen, and so on. For others, its not quite as wonderful. The amount of shopping that needs done, the food to get in for the dinner, the travel mileage that builds up from all the visits to do....the busyness level all adds up.
In the Salvation Army, we seem to be constantly on the go with carolling every night of the week; we have weekends without weekends; a lot of us end up cold and tired, maybe even ill!
Christmas is different for everyone. For some, its far from wonderful, almost to the extent where there's an emptiness or darkness in life.
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,...and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace... "
In the buzz and amongst the hussle and bussle, lets be thankful and meditate on who and what really came from Christmas - the baby that was born in the manger. As verse two points out, "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light..." Regardless of what the festive season is to us and to who we minister to, "a light HAS dawned" friends!
And then ask yourself the following:
"Who is he in yonder stall,
At whose feet the shepherds fall?
Who is he on yonder tree
Dies in grief and agony?
Who is he who from the grace
Comes to succour, help and save?
'Tis the Lord! O wondrous story,
'Tis the Lord, the King of Glory!
At his feet we humbly fall,
Crown him, crown him Lord of all!"
And that my friends is truly wonderful; although its just for this time of year, is it? Its for eternity. I'll leave that with you.