This was the first of the readings Ben Oliver suggested we read over Christmas - you can find it online here.
I just spent 15 minutes meditating on these verses. That meant finding a quiet place (never an easy task in our house), closing the door and reading these verses again and again. If you're anything like me your days can be so full of people, of activity, of rushing from one things to the next, with a to do list that never gets done, that your soul feels like water in a whirlpool, rushing round and round and never stopping. Meditating on the Bible is, for me at least, the thing which most quickly brings my soul to rest. The most effective way to calm my inner being, to bring that stillness where I can hear God, where I can discern His still small voice.
So here's my challenge. Right now decide when today you are going to find 15 minutes today to meditate on these verses. You're going to find time to do many other things today, many of which are frankly deeply unimportant(!), so find time to do this.
Start off reading all 8 verses through several times, even listen to the audio version on YouVersion. Then focus in on one verse which speaks to you, then on one phrase in that verse, then even on one word. All the time be talking to God about what you're reading, and how it's speaking to you.
For me I ended up in verse 3:
You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.
I reflected that joy is one of the indications of God's kingdom coming, and one of the things most associated with knowing Jesus. And it's the joy which comes not as you're doing something but when it's finished. When the harvest has been gathered in and all the hard work of ploughing, sowing and reaping have borne fruit. When the battle has been won, the enemy has been defeated and you can stop and enjoy the victory.
Although Isaiah is writing hundreds of years before Jesus is born, he writes of the joy which will come when his work will have been completed, writing with such assurance that he writes of this joy in the past tense. I thank God that I too can have that joy now, and pray that I'll be a person known for that joy this Christmas.
I'd love to hear what you get out of your meditation on these verses.