Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.
But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.
Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David!
Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.
Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son,
and shall name him Immanuel.
He shall eat curds and honey
by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.
For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.
This passage from Isaiah is often noted as a sign from God of Jesus' birth to Mary. Just before Isaiah gives this prophesy, we find Ahaz refusing the Lord's request to ask for a sign. Ahaz believes that by refusing this sign, he is showing that he trusts his Lord and does not need to test God's abilities. What Ahaz is actually doing is revealing how little he trusts the living God who is speaking to him.
God meets us in unexpected ways in our lives. We find grace from places where we refused to look. God knows us better than we know ourselves and provides us with what we did not even know we needed. While we preoccupied with the busyness of this Christmas season, God is continuing to reach out to us. How are we responding? Are we open to God's signs? Do we trust the presence of the living God that moves around us?
As we continue to open ourselves to God during this Advent season, I would like to offer a prayer for us. Gracious God, you give even when we think we do not need to receive. Open our hearts to your grace during this season so that we may prepare for the coming of Christ. May we receive all that you offer and be instruments of your good work. Amen.