It is winter. As I write this I feel the absence of the sun, and a deep distress in my community. Isaiah wrote in a time of deep distress in his community. Then, like now, the geopolitical situation was unstable. The Northern and Southern kingdoms of Israel were drawn into picking sides with the greater powers of their time. The glow of the unified and triumphant Davidic kingdom was in the past, the present was dangerous and the future, I hazard a guess, was dreary. At just such a time as this there blossomed hope for a future messiah-king, one who would restore justice and whose reign would usher in a time when natural enemies would snuggle up warmly with one another. This was an unrealistic dream for their time, but a dream which held out possibility and hope.