*Just idle ramblings on stuff I’m reading for Advent this year. Today, I read Isaiah 9.
“If you’re gonna have an evil lair, better make sure it has a view.”
–a member of Easy Company, as quoted in HBO’s WWII miniseries Band of Brothers
“The people walking in darkness will see a great light; light shines on those who live in a land of deep darkness. You have enlarged the nation; you give them great joy. They rejoice in your presence as harvesters rejoice; as warriors celebrate when they divide up the plunder. For their oppressive yoke and the club that strikes the shoulders, the cudgel of the oppressor uses on them, you have shattered as in the day of Midian’s defeat. Indeed, every boot that marches and shakes the earth and every garment dragged through blood is used as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born to us, a son has been given to us. He shoulders responsibility and is called Extraordinary Strategist, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His dominion will be vast and he will bring immeasurable prosperity. He will rule on David’s throne and over David’s kingdom, establishing it and strengthening it by promoting justice and fairness, from this time forward and forevermore.”
–Isaiah 9: 1-8
I have to admit I’m a sucker for the Band of Brothers mini-series. It’s an automatic stop-down anytime I channel surf.
For the uninitiated, it’s the story of paratroopers in WWII, Easy Company, and their journey from training to V-E Day. After a grueling boot camp designed to create elite soldiers they were eventually dropped behind enemy lines on D-Day, and not a lot went right. On the fly, one of the men who would eventually lead the company designed a strategy to secure their location…and those maneuvers at Market Garden are studied at West Point to this day.
Then came the Battle of the Bulge. Survival was the end game for them. Stay put while surrounded and hold their position. Brutally bitter Belgian cold. Digging foxholes in a forest. Every night as sitting ducks hoping enemy shells didn’t score a direct hit. Supplies never got there. Many died. Eventually, allied troops got through and Easy Company went on the offensive.
Then a campaign in Holland as the war turned. They discovered and liberated concentration camps.
The end-game of the war required securing Nazi locations, one of which was Hitler’s mountain retreat in Austria. Easy Company was put in charge of that operation. A group of men who had been through it all…the absolute worst of the European theater…discovered the wine cellar. Contents: the finest whiskey and wine from all over the world, and more than Easy Company could drink. They took what they wanted and then shared the spoils with the other companies. The warriors divided the spoils.
The mini-series depicted the men on an observation deck from the lair. That’s where the line about an evil lair having a great view came from, but can you imagine? Months before you are in a forest, sitting ducks, nearing starvation and frostbite if not dying from war…
…how sweet must that celebration have been?
When you’re in that forest hoping to survive, fighting back fear. Don’t you think it would be a different enjoyment of a fine wine in that backdrop rather than if you’d simply flown to a mountaintop hotel and had a glass on vacation?
Isaiah 9 paints that picture in my way of thinking. There are people in darkness. Their land has been overrun. Their culture has been denigrated. Their God has been mocked. They have homes that don’t feel like homes. And this goes on for generations. And generations. And generations. And generations. And generations.I imagine grandparents whispering into the next generation’s ears, “Someday…”
Someday, the light will come. God will rescue us. Maybe today…
…but be on the lookout.
Fight your battles every day in case He doesn’t show. But He’s coming. Maybe today. Maybe not. But we will be faithful today. Me and my house will, anyway. This military leader will put the boot on the throat of the enemy. Their cloaks will be dragged in the mud and blood. He will give us back our nation. Past that, He will be God Himself. He will give us peace, now and forever. Good times are ahead. We win.
And we will enjoy it like fine wine from an observation deck on an mountaintop on a cool, sunny day.
But, be on the lookout. He will come. We will wait. Even if it’s freezing. Even if we can’t go on the offensive. Even if we run out of supplies. Even if we are being shelled. Even if some of our buddies are killed by trees falling or bullets or friendly fire. He will come.
Those whispers are true for us even if we are a bit more comfy than Israel was. Those whispers are true even if our freezing is cured with socks and a blanket. Even if we’re stuck between where we are and where we want to go. Even if our loss of supplies is metaphorical while we know where our next 1,000 meals are coming from. Even if the oppression of our brothers and sisters are headlines that overwelm us because we can’t protect them all.
He will come.
He will come.
God will show up. Even though it’s dark out. Arise. Shine.
Taste the wine. Enjoy the view. Even if, for today, it’s all in your imagination. Taste the wine. Enjoy the view. Like warriors dividing the spoils
The darkness we are in will eventually make the reality that much more sweet.