Reflection on Isaiah 9: 2-7
John G. Gibbs, PhD
If you light a candle
under a floodlight, who cares? Where there already is
a great light, who needs a flashlight, who wants a flickering
wick of new light? Where Christmas has grown old, where
the familiar rhythm of Christmas texts lulls people
to sleep, where the light is taken for granted and there
is no more great drama of faith – there can any new
thing happen, could a new light be seen if it came,
would the birth of new life be possible?
On the other hand, "those
who lived in a land of deep darkness" are specially
prepared to "see" whatever light may seek them out.
Christmas is a terrible time of "deep darkness" for
many people who live alone, for they are outside the
cozy combination of faith and family that seems to own
Christmas. A divorced parent who also lives far from
brother or sister or from father or mother, that person
torn away from family knows all about walking in darkness.
Especially for that
person the Christmas candle was lit and shines. Nobody
owns Christmas, not families, not people of faith. And
nobody is disowned by Christmas, not the lonely, not
people of doubt and alienation. We all have darkness
within us, which means that we all have potential to
"see" that "endless peace" (9:7) with "justice and with
righteousness" (9:7) that the Lord of the Universe has
established as the order of our life.
The surprise of the
Incarnation is the light it sheds on the whole landscape
of our common life: "the way of the sea" and "the land
beyond" wherever we are (9:1) are all "made glorious"
simply because "a child as been born for us, a son given
to us" (9:6). We all find ourselves caught up with that
One Great People who "rejoice before you as with joy
at the harvest" (9:3). Here is the Light that redefines
"family," and reshapes our vision of what it means to
belong to one another within the People of God.