2 The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
3 You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
4 For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. — Isaiah 9:2–7 (ESV)
Let’s be honest. 2020 has been a political dumpster fire of a year.
This year has brought to our attention how much our civil government can have a positive or negative effect on our lives. Lockdowns have made “criminals” of those who desire to work to provide for their family. Mayors have let their cities burn at the hand of “fiery, but mostly peaceful” mobs and rioters. Police officers have unjustly abused their power. Presidential “debates” have revealed new lows of public rhetoric at the highest seats of power.
Meanwhile, we live in a country that legally kills unborn children by over a million a year over the last 50 years. Why? We live in a culture that more and more adamantly wants to erase all discussion of Christ from its public conscience and discourse. To be clear, without Christ, the nations walk in confusion and chaos. Without God and His Word there is no basis for justice and goodness and so the nations only know darkness. We are a people who desperately need the light of Christ to shine upon us and expose our evil deeds so that we might turn to him (John 3:19-21).
This is the story in which Isaiah speaks Good News: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” The gospel is indeed that Christ paid for our sins and made us right with God, but the gospel is also that Christ is Lord. He has been given “All authority in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). He has come as King, and his Kingdom—his government—is the answer to the darkness of our political woes.
Just listen to how his Kingdom is described. He came as light into our darkness in order to bring joy to the nations (vs. 2)—when was the last time you associated joy with politics? He came to remove the yoke of burdens and break the oppressor (vs. 4). He came to end the raging wars of nations (vs. 5). He is our “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” and his Kingdom knows no end (vs. 7).
While it may be hard to believe at times, the promise here in Isaiah began to be fulfilled in the coming of Christ. Christ reigns and his Kingdom comes through victories disguised as defeats (remember the cross?). As we read in 1 Corinthians “He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” (1 Cor. 15:25). It is in this confidence that we celebrate that child who was born in Bethlehem. We rejoice that he reigns and that of the increase of his government and of peace, there will be no end.
Meet us O Christ in the wonder of Advent:
a season illuminated by your brilliance.
All authority in heaven and on earth is yours,
and to you we humbly submit.
May our every act of celebrating direct our hearts to you!
Let us not be defined by our political allegiances, but instead let our politics be conformed to your Holy Word. We confess, we get this backwards. Our worship and our affections are all too easily disordered.
You created everything from nothing and delivered us from death.You came in the smallest of ways to do the biggest of things.
How dare we give you anything but the highest seat of authority
in our lives?
Contrary to political promises, our freedom does not come from man but was bought with your blood on the cross.
In a culture that worships moving-target moral fads, grant us the courage to be counter-cultural. Where the world says to live our own truths, may we instead live within your truth. As candidates and thought leaders rise and fall, remind us that your reign and rule are forever.
All year round there is evidence of our need for a Savior, but a pre-Advent election season makes it particularly clear. Bring us into your light, so that we may cast off our darkness.
The Christ Child came to be with us and to reign over us:
let us live like this is true, every day until you call us home.