We have all known people like Ahaz, too stubborn to ask for help, too independent to rely on anyone for anything, blindly going their own way, even when it’s clearly leading them to disaster. They consider their stubborn independence a virtue, and pride themselves on it, until it’s too late. Come to think of it, some of us may even be a little bit like Ahaz.
Is there any hope for such people? Is there any hope for us? Well, let’s look at the sign the prophet Isaiah promises. The virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel, because God is with us.
Sometimes the simplest things in life can have the greatest impact on us. The promise and birth of a child always represent new life, new beginnings, new possibilities. We see the same promise in new buds and blossoms in the spring-time, even in a clear, blue sky after several days of heavy, grey cloud. We experience it anytime we get involved with people and activities that take us outside ourselves.
We should be aware over the next few days of the signs God may be giving us as we prepare for Christmas: signs of life and peace in the midst of chaos and confusion, whether in the world or in our hearts. These signs remind us of what we truly celebrate at Christmas: the birthday of the God who became a man, who suffered and died for our sins. The God who became like us, so that we can become more like him.