Isaiah 9, 6-7
Something to read
For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His 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 onwards and for evermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
New Revised Standard Version
To read the King James Version, click here
Something to think about
Children represent for us a hope for the future. Few appeals for help are as strong as those of children who are suffering. The sounds of children laughing in a playground arouse memories and tend to bring us to new hope. It is from this new hope brought in by a child that the prophet draws his inspiration to talk of a new future where authority is used to bring about peace and righteousness.
No mention is made here of war, or suffering, or poverty, or hunger – only everlasting peace. This is a world that is new and different from the one we now know. This is our hope, and that for which each new child strives for, and takes upon her shoulders.
Something to do
Think of your own childhood and your hopes and aspirations. How many have you not done? How many would have helped to bring about a time of everlasting peace for yourself and others? It's there – think hard! And once you find it, start to think about how you can make that happen now.
Something to pray
O God, with each child we see the promise of your hope in gleaming eyes. They are eyes that sometimes suffer, but can so quickly flicker with a joy that finds you at its source. Help me to never be intransigent to the needs of these children. Help me to rediscover the child-like gifts that you have granted to me. With these rediscovered gifts, give me the courage to take the steps needed to bring those flickers of happiness into the lives of children, and thus bring forth your realm of everlasting peace, found in the laughter of children. Amen.
Ryan Sirmons is a pastor of the United Church of Christ of Annapolis, USA, who trained at Westminster College, Cambridge.