Isaiah proclaimed that the sign of salvation would be given by the Lord himself. This is a very deep statement. As long as we identify this body as our self and seek to satis- fy only our material needs we will not even be able to know what salvation is. God will have to remove the darkness in our hearts and help us to see. The Hebrews were looking for salvation from the oppression of foreign powers. We can thank God that by his grace prophets like Isaiah had a vision that went be- yond seeking remedies for tempo- rary problems. They were not merely driven (like most) by the needs of the moment. Isaiah saw salvation coming from God in a way least expected. Isaiah saw the saviour being born of a virgin, that he would be Immanuel - 'God with us.' God then surprised everyone even more, He had His Son, the presiding deity of creation take birth in a stable. Is this fitting, the kings of heaven taking such a low position? How extraordinary!
When we are so eager to put ourselves forward to get ahead, keep others at bay lest they take what is ours! Could there have been a better place for the king of heaven to appear? NO! Quite simply, God chose the most powerful place fro His Christ child to take birth. In a lowly stable with no crib for a bed and surrounded by animals. What a huge statement to put the audacious material world in its place. How wonderful to know that to be ordinary is ok, that to be anything and to love and serve God we need nothing but our selves. The greatest joy is revealed in that stable, the stable with such humble facility. What is revealed is the perfect image of God, after whose likeness we have been made. I pray that by God's grace, even a drop of that Christ like- ness may enter our hearts and transform us this Christmas.
Father Russell Trickey, Bangalow Anglican Church
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