Our first Advent reading this year is from Isaiah 45:1-7.
This is a powerful declaration of one of the primary themes of Christmas: God’s passionate desire to be known by us and to know us. As you read this, take note of all the ways God is making Himself known to His people. Remember that God’s ultimate act to know and be known is the incarnation: His literal coming to earth, in the flesh, as a person like us, named Jesus.
There’s a detail in the first verse of chapter 45 of Isaiah’s prophesy that you might just overlook. You’ll notice that Cyrus is referred to as God’s “anointed,” as one through whom God will make Himself known.
Here’s what’s wild about that: Cyrus is the Persian king! Cyrus is the dude who is conquering Israel. He’s the “bad guy,” but God is going to use even him to get His message across, even though Cyrus does not acknowledge God (v. 4 and 5).
What do you do with that?
You might re-evaluate the stuff in your life that feels like it’s bad.
The wonderful, messy, mysterious truth is this: God can reveal Himself to you even through that stuff.