Thursday, December 23, 2010

Isaiah Got it Right

Four stores and everyone is out of chocolate oranges! Whatever will we do? How can Christmas even take place if Jonathan and Sean have no chocolate oranges in their stockings? Oh, no! For years this has been a Christmas staple in our family. I suspect that Santa started giving them chocolate oranges to ease the pain of getting new socks every year, but I don't really know for sure.

Have you ever eaten a chocolate orange? They are made of either dark or milk chocolate, flavored like an orange, and about the size of a tennis ball. To eat them, you rap them sharply on a hard surface like the kitchen counter and they crack into segments just like real orange segments. They are wonderful.

I knew I should have bought the chocolate oranges last week when I saw them at Trader Joe's, but I happened to be there with Sean; in fact, he pointed them out to me. Call me silly, but I never have gotten used to buying something destined for someone's stocking while in the presence of that person, so I passed on the chocolate oranges.

Now I'm regretting it, naturally. I could have gotten it right the first time since Sean would have graciously (wink, wink) forgotten he'd ever seen me buy them. So, no chocolate oranges. Oh, well.

As I have been saying all along, Christmas doesn't happen because we are ready. It doesn't happen because we have prepared everything perfectly. It doesn't happen when we've gotten our chocolate oranges. It happens because God is ready. It happens because God has prepared everything perfectly. It happens because God knows what we need, and it isn't chocolate oranges.

Isaiah spoke eloquently in his prediction from Chapter 9 about just what it is that God says we need: a son given to us, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God. Everlasting. Prince of Peace. Read the prophet's words...

Isaiah 9

1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.

I particularly notice the last line of verse 7, in which the prophet states, "The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this." He doesn't say, "The zeal of Dori Almighty" or "The zeal of Robert Almighty" or "The zeal of Susan Almighty" will accomplish this. There is no mention of going to four different stores in search of chocolate oranges or any other blessed thing! There is no mention of having to have the Christmas cards in the mail!

Christmas is now, was then, and always will be courtesy of the Lord Almighty. As I worship at the Christmas Eve service I will wonder and be amazed at the grace of the Lord Almighty, and forget all about chocolate oranges. I will marvel at the coming of the Everlasting God, whose reign is forever.

May you also know wonder and delight as we step into the miracle.

Many blessings!

For further reading:

Psalm 96

Titus 2:11-14

Luke 2:1-14, and 15-20

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