Advent: Seeing the signs
In this fourth week of Advent, we are focusing on the theme 'Christ present' and Isaiah 7.10-16. Today, Richard Reddie reflects on this week’s theme.
Isaiah was a man of God, what we often call a prophet, and he was called by God to tell his people about the way they should behave and act toward one another. At the time that the Book of Isaiah was written - hundreds of years before Jesus' birth - the country in which the prophet lived was going through hard times. The nation was threatened with invasion, and the people were often looking for someone special to come who would transform their fortunes.
In this passage, King Ahaz looks for a sign that will show when the situation will improve. Isaiah provides a vision of a child being born, who will be called Immanuel, which means 'God is with us' in Hebrew. The wait for this child was a long one, as there were several hundred years between Isaiah’s words and the birth of the child, Jesus, who would change the hearts of people, and ensure that the world would never be the same again.
Waiting for a sign requires patience and concentration. What if in the waiting, the sign comes, but we miss it or we don’t recognise it? Isaiah’s words are a sign of Jesus’ coming, and yet when he did come, many did not recognise him as Immanuel.
Today we are desperately in need of Jesus’ presence to change how people see the world and one another.
But the challenges are: Are we really seeing the signs?
Are we seeing what God in Christ is placing before us?
Where is Christ’s presence in these scenarios?
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