Readings for the Christmas Season
The ninth day of Christmas
5 Thus says God, the LORD,
…..who created the heavens and stretched them out,
…..who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people upon it
…..and spirit to those who walk in it:
6 I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness,
…..I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people,
…..a light to the nations,
…..7to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
…..from the prison those who sit in darkness.
8 I am the LORD, that is my name;
…..my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to idols.
9 See, the former things have come to pass,
…..and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth,
…..I tell you of them. Isaiah 42:5-9
+ + +
A light to the nations.
As the Christmas season progresses our eyes turn toward Epiphany, the sign in the heavens, the magi’s journey, the gifts of gold, incense and myrrh. But the Feast of the Epiphany is not separate from Christmas. They both celebrate the incarnation, the word made flesh. They both rejoice in the birth of a new king, the dawn of a new governance of the human heart. They both are about light to the nations – light to all the peoples of the world. They are the bookends of a single season, two narratives of one deeply profound mystery: God has come to us. The beating heart of all existence is made flesh. The author of all life from whom our world is so estranged has drawn near. Immanuel.
The wedding banquet is begun. Water is turned to wine. Tears of sorrow become tears of joy. The radiance of heaven shines forth. The scattered are gathered. Eyes are opened. The Spirit given. The way of love is revealed. A new exodus is at hand.
In the eyes of the society around us, the festivities are over. The trees are down. The stores are already filled with the next marketing opportunity: Valentines Day candy, fake roses, and cute stuffed animals in heart handled mugs. But in Bethlehem, the child awaits the magi. In Bethlehem knees will yet bend. In Bethlehem real human hearts open to serve a new reign.