The time of the preaching of this series was the end of 2020 towards the end of a challenging COVID-19 year.
Millions of families throughout the world would be missing loved ones at Christmas and new Year celebrations as they and the whole world remained uncertain as to what lay ahead in the new year as infections and deaths were spiraling out of control in the United States and the United Kingdom.
This Advent sermon series takes us back to the truth that God is sovereign and rules over all things through Christ. In the world’s darkness a great Light is shining, a light that brings great joy and hope. This Light is He who was promised from long ago and whose arrival that first Christmas Day was in accord with God’s set purpose, plan and timing. Today, Christ remains this Light of the world who alone brings joy into the midst of darkness and hope as our eyes are turned heavenward toward God to see that He works all things for good for those who love Him.
Readings reproduced on this page:
The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1996, 1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan
Isaiah 7:1–17 (NIV84)
1When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.
2Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.
3Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman’s Field.
4Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah.
5Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying,
6“Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.”
7Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “ ‘It will not take place, it will not happen,
8for the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is only Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people.
9The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.’ ”
10Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz,
11“Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”
12But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.”
13Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also?
14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
15He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right.
16But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.
17The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria.”
Isaiah 9:1–7 (NIV84)
1Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan—
2The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
3You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder.
4For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.
5Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.