Knowing the future brings hope to some people. The same knowledge brings fear to others. When the nation of Israel had been conquered and the people were living in captivity, the prophet Isaiah delivered a message. A child would be born. He would be a leader. He would bring peace. But not yet. Not yet.
Hundreds of years passed before Jesus was born in Bethlehem. When it finally happened angels sang to shepherds. A star appeared in the sky. Wise men travelled from far away lands. Heaven and earth rejoiced. But kings were caught off guard. Priests had to search the scriptures for information about the birthplace of the Messiah.
Why did those who were lowly and distant rejoice, while those with power and prestige in Jerusalem did not? Fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy marked an important turning point in history. A turning point so dramatic that the world bases its calendar on time before and after Jesus’ birth. As exciting as that was, though, it was welcome news only to those who wanted a turning point and were willing to follow.
On our pilgrim journey we must be open to God’s leading. Georg Neumark expressed this in his hymn If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee. Ponder his words.
If thou but suffer God to guide thee,
and hope in God through all thy ways,
God will give strength, whate’er betide thee,
and bear thee through the evil days.
Who trusts in God’s unchanging love
builds on the rock that naught can move.
Jesus’ birth was not the end of prophecy. The joyful news of Christmas was followed by His life, death, and resurrection, which were also foretold. And even more is yet to come. Jesus will return. This path has been foretold, and we must follow it.
Follow the Path!
[Use with Prophecy, day 32 of A Labyrinth Pilgrimage]