Isaiah 2:1-5 This is another vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days, the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem will become the most important place on earth. People from all over the world will go there to worship. Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the Temple of the God of Israel. There he will teach us his ways, so that we may obey him.”
For in those days the Lord’s teaching and his word will go out from Jerusalem. The Lord will settle international disputes. All the nations will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. All wars will stop, and military training will come to an end. Come, people of Israel, let us walk in the light of the Lord!
Isaiah 9:1-5 Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will soon be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light—a light that will shine on all who live in the land where death casts its shadow.
Israel will again be great, and its people will rejoice as people rejoice at harvest time. They will shout with joy like warriors dividing the plunder. For God will break the chains that bind his people and the whip that scourges them, just as he did when he destroyed the army of Midian with Gideon’s little band. In that day of peace, battle gear will no longer be issued. Never again will uniforms be bloodstained by war. All such equipment will be burned.
<ul><li>Isaiah 9:6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: </li></ul><ul><li>Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the Lord Almighty will guarantee this! </li></ul>
Isaiah 40:27-31 O Israel, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? How can you say God refuses to hear your case? Have you never heard or understood? Don’t you know that the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. [ but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. ]
Isaiah 42:1-4 “Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, and I am pleased with him. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will reveal justice to the nations. He will be gentle—he will not shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush those who are weak or quench the smallest hope. He will bring full justice to all who have been wronged. He will not stop until truth and righteousness prevail throughout the earth. Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction. [ In his law the islands will put their hope ] ”
<ul><li>Isaiah 43:22-23 </li></ul><ul><li>This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I will give a signal to the godless nations. They will carry your little sons back to you in their arms; they will bring your daughters on their shoulders. Kings and queens will serve you. They will care for all your needs. They will bow to the earth before you and lick the dust from your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord. Those who wait for me will never be put to shame. [ those who hope in me will not be disappointed.] ” </li></ul>
<ul><li>Isaiah 51:4-6 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Listen to me, my people. Hear me, Israel, for my law will be proclaimed, and my justice will become a light to the nations. My mercy and justice are coming soon. Your salvation is on the way. I will rule the nations. They will wait for me and long for my power. [ The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm. ] Look up to the skies above, and gaze down on the earth beneath. For the skies will disappear like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a piece of clothing. The people of the earth will die like flies, but my salvation lasts forever. My righteous rule will never end!” </li></ul>
<ul><li>christmas is waiting to happen. </li></ul><ul><li>outside, a vacant hillside </li></ul><ul><li>lies silent, strangely empty </li></ul><ul><li>of any angel’s choir. </li></ul><ul><li>a stable waits </li></ul><ul><li>for bookings at the inn to multiply. </li></ul><ul><li>distant Kings study charts </li></ul><ul><li>and keep gifts in cold storage, </li></ul><ul><li>while shepherds plan their memoirs </li></ul><ul><li>in expectancy of unexpected fame </li></ul><ul><li>and keep a chapter free </li></ul><ul><li>for miracles </li></ul>
<ul><li>a small velvet patch </li></ul><ul><li>in the black night sky </li></ul><ul><li>stands ready to hold a newborn star, </li></ul><ul><li>and oppressed peoples everywhere </li></ul><ul><li>cling wildly to prophecy and song, </li></ul><ul><li>and whisper the word: messiah. </li></ul>
<ul><li>they’ve switched on the lights </li></ul><ul><li>in Oxford Street, </li></ul><ul><li>counting off the buying days </li></ul><ul><li>like Guardsmen on parade </li></ul><ul><li>shops are stocked and standing by </li></ul><ul><li>revving up the engines </li></ul><ul><li>of their debt-powered </li></ul><ul><li>swiping machines </li></ul>
and history watchers mark another year to start the slow march to 3000
but here, an old man lies in the hallway where he fell three days ago and no-one knows. and here a young girl loiters in the streetlight’s unholy halo to sell the only thing she owns that men will pay for and here an infant sleeps on a sack on the hard earth floor where even a mother’s hand is empty
<ul><li>… and there are places where Christmas </li></ul><ul><li>is still waiting to happen </li></ul>