The main reading for our Christmas Eve worship services was 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… 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 Counselor, 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 onward and forevermore.
That middle line, “all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned” really struck me. I don’t think I ever quite heard that verse before. Hearing that makes me think of one of my favorite Christmas songs of all time:
(Trigger warning: some images involves children, many are difficult to watch.)
U.S. troops are out of Iraq. That war is over. But others continue. The Prince of Peace wants all wars to end. To worship the babe born in Bethlehem means facing reality, means seeking to end war. But following God in the way of Jesus also means we don’t believe in hopeless! It means we’ve got some work to do.
Still, I don’t want to be too grim today. So let me also offer another great Christmas song. This one might well be my all-time favorite to listen to.
Happy Christmas from the Buerstetta’s to you. May you be a blessing to someone in need today.