I bet you didn’t expect to find an intersection between Greek mythology and Christ–did you? For that matter, would expect to see a connection between the chaos of politics and the peace of Christmas?
The iconic Christmas passage, other than Luke 2, is doubtless Isaiah 9:6:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Currently, we are beleaguered by the constant press of politics, international relations, government failure and deception. And while many of us struggle to remain hopeful that there is an end in sight: that a new administration will somehow improve things … we all know it’s not very likely. (emphasis mine)
The United States government isn’t doing a very good job of heralding peace within our own borders, let alone in relationship with other governments or in our attempted role as mediator.
In your own home, is there peace? Or, does it feel like, whether discussing national issues, what’s for dinner or where to go for Christmas that the weight of the world is on your shoulders?
That little idiom harkens to the story in Greek mythology of the luckless Atlas, cursed to bear up the weight of the world on his shoulders.
But did you notice, that–far from myth–Jesus already told us through Isaiah that He Himself bears the weight of the world on His own scarred shoulders?
” … the government will be upon his shoulders.”
And it gets better. Not only does Jesus bear us up, shoulder the burden, He promises peace–that passes understanding, that has no end, that promotes righteousness and justice:
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
A far cry from what we experience in the world today … right?
Jesus doesn’t just work in the big picture either. He’s not merely concerned with bearing the weight of governments and world leaders. The first part of this passage calls Him our Counselor, Father and Prince of Peace. This great God is the savior of the world and the peace-bringer in your home. He is the messiah and the counselor who whispers behind you which way to go:
Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left. Isaiah 30:21
What burden is crushing you right now? In what way do you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders? How might Jesus lift that burden for you?