On November 13, Davide Martello sat in a German pub watching the France-Germany soccer game when the terror attacks in Paris began. Minutes later, Davide loaded his grand piano on a trailer and drove 400 miles through the night to Paris. He parked outside the Bataclan concert hall—the site of the deadliest attack—and played a beautiful rendition of John Lennon’s song “Imagine.” When interviewed later, he said, “I wanted to be there to try and comfort, and offer a sign of hope.”

Nearly 3,000 years earlier, the prophet Isaiah wrote a similar song, a song for people who had just been attacked, a song sung to a terrorized people. It was meant to be a balm, a picture of a peaceful future. While Isaiah’s song has a very different message than “Imagine,” the goal is the same: to restore hope in a community that has just lived through a nightmare.

Isaiah 9:1–7 contains the now-familiar promise that we celebrate at Christmas: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given” (ESV, used throughout). But this promise wasn’t given in a vacuum. It was made to people living in the shadow of death—specifically, death at the hands of terrorists.

What Happens After Terror?

The Israelites were in the midst of one of the most frightening seasons in their history. The Assyrian empire stood at their borders and attacked frequently. Within about a decade, it would conquer the ten Northern tribes of Israel. Assyria was among the most brutal regimes in ancient Mesopotamia. It was a war machine. Some historians have called Assyrian forces the world’s first great army. Assyria had trained troops, iron weapons, and advanced engineering. Even more terrifying ...

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