Isaiah 7:10-16 (NRSV)
Verse 10Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Verse 11Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. Verse 12But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. Verse 13Then Isaiah said: "Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Verse 14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. Verse 15He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. Verse 16For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.
“Do you know how much I love you?” I ask my youngest during bedtime, knowing how much she delights in this game. “To Burkina Faso to France to Minnesota” she responds with a smile, listing the names of as many of the places she knows I’ve been. “And back,” I answer with a kiss on her cheek.
Once she’s fallen asleep, I take my dogs outside and look up at the darkness, because this is a routine that I love. Cold air cannot hold as much moisture as warm air, and so when it is a cloudless, winter night, the stars shine even brighter with clarity and sharpness.
“Do you know how much I love you?” God asks me. As deep as Sheol and as high as Heaven, I think. And even though I’m a tiny speck of sand underneath this massive canvas that is our Creator’s universe, I feel God’s kiss upon my cheek in return.
Dear God, thank you for bringing us a sign of the depth of your love—the child named Emmanuel. Give us hope in times of joy, and ordinariness, and dread alike. Trusting in your abundance we pray, Amen.