December 16

Isaiah 7:10-16

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.” vs. 14

Isaiah was so frustrated with King Ahaz of Judah. Two armies were on the march to besiege Jerusalem and Isaiah had received a word from the Lord that Judah had nothing to fear. But Ahaz refused to ask for a sign of confirmation–evidently he didn’t think he needed any help from the Lord. Isaiah tells the king the Lord will give a sign anyhow–a young woman will bear a son and name the child Immanuel, which means “God is with us.” When Matthew was writing his gospel, he remembered this verse from Isaiah and uses it as a confirmation that the birth of Jesus was a sign of God’s continuing strength and presence. God does not leave us bereft of support in this world of threats and violence. How do we know that? Well, a child has been born and we’ve come to know him as Immanuel. We aren’t alone, no matter how dismal our circumstances, no matter how uncertain our futures may appear. And that’s the good news of Christmas! Right now there’s probably a lot of hoopla going on in our lives, that’s the nature of the season. But underneath the tree, hidden by packages carefully wrapped, there rests the child Jesus, and in him God has come and will come to us–even if we don’t ask! Such is the nature of grace!

Thought for the Day: Why are we reluctant to ask for God’s help?

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