Biblical Prayer Meditation for Christmas
Dec. 25, 2016
Isaiah 9:2-7 New Revised Standard Version
Use the meditation below to pray on the Isaiah 9 text this week or imagine your own way into the text.
God of Light, Open my eyes to the vision of Isaiah. Help me to see your saving grace in the midst of darkness.
2The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined.
It is not difficult to imagine a land of deep darkness. A brief foray into the news reveals a world of suffering. Disasters both natural and human-caused afflict the people around the block and around the world. The ravages of war displace thousands and the rest of the world throws up its hands in helpless resignation. And yet, the prophet says that the people have seen a great light. What is this light? Where have you seen it shining? Where do you need to see it?
3You 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.
Picture a time you experienced great joy. When have you felt that a harvest you have waited for patiently has come to fruition? When has God given you an unexpected bounty? Recapture that feeling for a moment and imagine it spreading over the whole world.
4For 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.
Now feel the weight of a yoke on your shoulders. The pressure of the burdens you bear, many not of your own choosing. What loads do you carry that have been oppressing your soul? Picture them being lifted by God, the rod broken. Imagine yourself standing a little taller, the relief flooding through your shoulders, your heart beginning to sing.
5For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
Imagine the soldiers of the world laying down their weapons, tossing off their battle clothes and returning to their families. Picture a time of peace, when the resources formerly spent on war are redirected to sustain life.
6For 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.
On this Christmas Day, picture the baby Jesus, born as the hope of the world. Imagine the inbreaking of the kingdom of God, as fragile and as resilient as a tiny baby. Feel the joy of his parents, the fierce love. Imagine that as God’s love for the whole world.
7His 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.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
See that child growing and with him the kingdom of God. Can you imagine a world established and upheld with justice and righteousness? What would it look like? How would you participate as a citizen of this world? What counsel of peace can you bring?
God of Promise, help me to feel the certainty of your presence in the world. Open my eyes to the light shining in the darkness, to the voice of the child calling out your message of hope. Turn me into a messenger of your peace and justice who heralds your joy. Make me what you want me to be. Amen.