December 23, 2022: Anticipation

Reading: Isaiah 9:2-7

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
on them light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation,
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as people exult when dividing plunder.
For the yoke of their burden,
and the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For all the boots of the tramping warriors
and all the garments rolled in blood
shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually,
and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time onwards and for evermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.



Today, we begin a series of devotions titled, “The Messages of Christmas.” On our Advent journey, and as we approach the Nativity of our Lord, there are some themes that keep popping up, so I thought we’d explore them this week.

Advent (and particularly this week for small children) is a time of great anticipation. We are looking toward Christ’s birth and the arrival of the Messiah. In the days when our passage today from Isaiah was written, God’s people longed for this promised one.

But during Advent, we also are anticipating Jesus’ second coming. He will come again to judge the living and the dead, as we recite in the Apostle’s Creed. Are you ready? This anticipation we have this time of year we should be feeling about Christ’s coming again. We are Advent people, after all.

Are there things that you might regret if your life ended suddenly today? Are you putting off a phone call to tell someone how you feel, to resolve a conflict? What else is on your “to do” list that may not have been a priority but maybe should be?

We should always be ready. Take this anticipation you feel this time of year and apply it to every day of your life. Be ready for Jesus!

–Chad Hershberger



God, you have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy. Be with us in anticipation as we look toward Jesus’ coming as a baby and as he comes again to rule a new kingdom.