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To Us A Child is Born!

For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (Handel’s music )

Today we celebrate the birth of this amazing Christ child and, though there are tender moments, let us never forget that we are worshiping the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  This is not sentimentality; it is salvation—for you and me and the whole world!  So let us praise the Lord for his goodness as we learn more about who this child is.

Wonderful Counselor*

Not only will the government of the universe be on his shoulder, but he will also be his own Wonderful Counselor and advisor. His way of going about things is so unexpected and so countercultural that the world laughs him off as foolish. (For now.) The people around him were startled by his teachings which seemed so upside down. His actions, too, were unexpected in so many ways. And then, when he died on the cross, that seemed to be the final straw of foolishness even though it was the greatest act of salvation. Through history, this Wonderful Counselor is working toward a future of joy.  Then, finally, we will see him face to face and he will wipe the tears from our eyes.

Mighty God*

Life is hard, sometimes terribly, terribly so. We all experience that. But let’s take comfort in this: Jesus is Mighty God! When God came to this world as a human baby, he came to conquer death by his power. When he took up his life again after his crucifixion he, the Mighty God, conquered death. Yes, people still suffer and die, but Jesus’ resurrection is a guarantee that there is a future without death and suffering for all those who love him. This is an advent world, full of hope despite the current darkness.

Everlasting Father*

Jesus not only shows us the Father; in terms of his everlasting compassion and infinite care he is our perfect father. Human fathers all fail, some horribly, but in the Bible God’s fatherhood always refers to his compassion and care. How we all need such love! Jesus will not leave us weeping in the winter storms of our lives, but he takes our sin and suffering and bears them himself. Through him, God is pleased with us, not ashamed of us.

Prince of Peace*

There is currently no peace, but Isaiah 9:2-7 described Jesus as the Prince of Peace in the midst of a world that knew, intimately, the horror of horrors that is war. Did he fail when he did not end armed conflict but rather died on a cross? No! In his first coming, he dealt with the cause of all war—the evil in our own human hearts. He gives us a new heart and peace, a fruit of the Holy Spirit. He has not failed; he has just not yet finished. At his second coming the Prince of Peace will come as warrior King to end all war, destroy all evil, make the world new, and give complete peace by his presence, wiping every tear from our eyes. (Revelation 19-21)

As we live in our broken world, waiting for our Lord to make all things new, we can be comforted by the promise, “The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do all these things.” In the meantime, we celebrate Christmas, every year.

May God bless us and our loved ones, filling all our hearts with his love and with confidence in his promises. And may he use us to tell those who sit in darkness about the Light that has come to shine on them.

*Based on four sermons on Isaiah 9:6 by W. Bosch, available on YouTube:
Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:2-7, I Corinthians 1:18-31)
Mighty God (Isaiah 9:2-7, 1 Corinthians 15:50-58)
Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:2-7, John 14:1-14)
Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:2-7, Luke 2:1-14)

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