The theme of this second week of the Christmas season focuses on love. Our Scripture reading gives us a thorough explanation of what real love is. We can easily see that the love that is expressed in Jesus Christ has little in common with the emotional and fleeting understanding of love that predominates today. This biblical description of love comes with a broad foundation of God’s wisdom, understanding and might. (v.2) This love is not self-centered, but recognizes that the foundation of all lasting love is a “fear of the Lord.” (v.3)
What really strikes me is the last several words of our reading: “and a little child shall lead them.” We usually assume that any kind of worthwhile activity will be performed by a person with excellent skills who uses that proficiency to get the job done. But verse 6 makes clear that the promise of Christmas starts with a “little child.” God’s provision runs counter to usual thinking. We usually think bigger is better and smaller is a sign of weakness. But God’s formula for demonstrating His loving care to all people starts with a little child that the world will discount as incapable of fending for itself, let alone leading.
Around 275 years ago the English songwriter Charles Wesley wrote a Christmas hymn entitled Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. Some of the words to the hymn included, “Come, Thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free. From our fears and sins release, Let us find our rest in Thee.” 275 years ago, as today, people were facing challenges that kept them from experiencing a full life. The barriers that stood in the way of the freedom that all people long for, both then and now, are to be broken by the redemptive work of a the child who was “born to set people free”! This great songwriter understood that our redemption is all about being liberated from those powerful forces that keep us from being what our God has created us to be.
The love that brings freedom to set people free comes through a child. In him we will find our rest — our freedom.
Vice President, ChildHope
Prayer: Forgive us O Lord, for the tendency we have to believe that “big and powerful” is the only solution to the challenges that face us. Help us to see the promise of the Christ Child that will lead and set His people free!
1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.