For Isaiah, Christmas is all about one-world government:
“For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore.”
How is this to happen? Not by conquest, but by making war irrelevant. War itself is overthrown. But how? Isaiah’s answer – people finally wake up and see the light:
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness–on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.”
Isaiah believed that the world could have a happy ending after all, simply as a result of everyone waking up and seeing the light. And I don’t believe that means everyone will convert to Christianity. It means everyone realizes that God already loves them; we don’t have a deity problem anymore. We never did. God is pro-Earth and all its inhabitants. Put it to rest. Forget about the verses that say people are God’s enemies. Re-interpret them. Look at them from a sociological perspective, or reject them outright but whatever you do, don’t believe them. Wake up and see the light, and let’s get governing.
If at any point in your life you’ve ever experienced unconditional love from anyone, you’re probably going to pull through this. Even if you have to endure some pretty brutal shit. I believe when someone loves you unconditionally they deposit within you an endless spring that continues to water you for the rest of your life even when you don’t realize it. Even if you didn’t realize you were being unconditionally loved when it happened.
I think this is the way the Hebrew prophet Isaiah felt about his deity: “For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.” (Isaiah 61.11)
For all their faults, deities seem to be ace at getting people to feel unconditionally loved.
I believe that’s because unconditional love is our way of unleashing divinity on each other.
See here for more about what Isaiah and some other ancient Jews thought about what happens to people who get loved unconditionally.
2 Peter 3:13 – But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.
The story of the universe is one of rebirth, a rebirth that is a new creation of all things. The liturgy, and indeed all religion is at its best when it faithfully bears witness to this story. During Advent the Liturgy directs us to reenact and re-envision the new birth, both individually and communally. In this way the story of Jesus is truly the story of humanity. If Jesus is of one being with the father, and we’re one with Jesus, then all life is at least sacred, if not wholly divine. That means the good news is that we as a singular creation are the ones who get to (must) make it happen. It means everyone has to get on board or it won’t work. One might even say that the good news needs to go out to the ends of the Earth or something like that.