advent journal: the prophet smiled


Our Christmas Eve service, like many around the country, is a service of Lessons and Carols. It is also a family service, so there is the rumble of restless little ones underneath all the singing and silence. It’s awesome. This year, Ginger made a point of asking a number of our children and young people to be the readers. The first one was a second grader named Matthew who is an awesome kid. He also helped me get ready for the all-church dinner before the service. He stepped up on the special stand that made him tall enough to see over the lectern and, dressed in suit and tie, he read from Isaiah 9 in tones of kindness and innocence:

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone . . .
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

And then he looked up from the Bible and smiled. I mean teeth-showing-I-delivered-the-good-news smiled. I don’t even think I’ve thought about a prophet smiling. From now on, whenever I hear or read this passage, Isaiah’s going to be grinning through the whole thing. As he stepped down from the lectern, I turned to the person sitting next to me and said, “Now it’s Christmas.”

It is indeed. Merry Christmas.




  1. The children were awesome in the service this evening. And so was the shepherd’s pie that Milty made for 120 people! Thanks, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful service and meal. Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas !!!

    P.S. A friend of mine linked me up to your site and I’ve been enjoying it for several days now.

  3. We heard the children beneath all the caroling and readings at our service, too. Seemed right, somehow. Thanks for these lovely posts this season, Milton. Truly, truly.

Leave a Reply