Boots for burning
“Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.” (Isaiah 9:5)
Christmas is about giving. We hopefully enjoy choosing presents for friends and family, even if we do agonise over what to get that person who (seemingly) has everything. We give to others with our time, our attention and our hospitality in lots of different ways at Christmas.
Christmas is also about destroying too. I suspect that is not the first thing we think of when we think about Christmas, but it’s true. As God speaks about Christmas through Isaiah, he says to God’s people “Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning…”
I don’t know what a fire of boots and bloody clothes looks and smells like but I can’t imagine it is very pleasant! This might seem like a very strange image to describe Christmas. But it actually describes a wonderful gift that God gives. Warrior’s boots can be burned because they are not needed any more. The blood stained clothes are something that will no longer trouble the people of God. God promises to bring peace.
That promise of peace was sung about by the angels on that first Christmas night, and it is something as needed now as it was in Isaiah’s day. The gift of peace is one of the most wonderful things that God gives at Christmas. Through Jesus, our saviour, we are brought peace with God, and then peace with one another.
Warrior’s boots and bloody clothes also represented something else to the people of Isaiah’s day. The violence and bloodshed they convey were associated with nations like Assyria and Egypt. The people of Israel used to turn to those nations for safety and security, for protection against their enemies, instead of turning to God.
As God throws the boots on the fire, he is removing the things his people turn to instead of him. What are the things we need to throw on the fire this Christmas? Where do we turn instead of God, and what do we trust in instead of God to bring us security and safety?
As we remember the gift of peace that God gives at Christmas, let’s resolve with the Holy Spirit’s help to throw on the fire everything that keeps us away from following him.
Photo by Chris Rhoads on Unsplash