Sunday, January 26, 2014

Isaiah 9:1–4

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” Everyone who has ever sat through a performance of the Messiah knows what’s next: “For unto us a child is born . . .” Handel’s exuberant chorus is probably playing in your mind right now: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace . . .” Isaiah’s royal birth announcement, bright with possibility and expectation, is the centerpiece of the Old Testament lection for Christmas Eve. So it seems strange that the lectionary chooses to reprise it four weeks downstream from Christmas during the January doldrums. Stranger still, the reprise is aborted: we get only the introduction of the theme without its resolution in the announcement of the birth it is meant to herald.


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