Looking beyond the lights – the deeper message of Christmas
My latest text to Alistair Bates went someone like this: “Would you like a Christmas blog for the Timeless website?”
“That would be excellent”, came the reply.
Believe it or not, what you are reading is my third attempt at writing an article that I thought would be easy! However, God seems to be reminding me that a blog about the birth of His Son must be written only after great thought and care.
‘Keep it simple’, is the instruction I seem to be getting so with that in mind, here comes a passage you have doubtless heard at Carol Services many times before
Foretelling the birth of Jesus in Isaiah 9:6-7, the Old Testament prophet said:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” (New International Version)’,
Familiar and indeed comforting words. Often however, the fact that we know this text so well means that what it says washes over us, and we forget the magnitude of the message contained within them.
Let’s start at the beginning. The ‘child’ to be born is no ordinary baby. He is a ‘son’. The next segment of the passage lists the titles he will receive and his responsibilities. ‘The government will be on his shoulders.’ He ‘will be called ‘Wonderful Counsellor’, ‘Mighty God’, ‘Everlasting Father, ‘Prince of Peace.’ It short, the promised child is revealed to be the son of the almighty creator God, an equal person of the divine trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit with all the power and majesty that suggests.
What’s more, verse eight tells us that the Saviour will reign as part of the Davidic dynasty as the leader of God’s chosen race, spreading out to everyone who will acknowledge Him as their Lord. Note that I use the term ‘acknowledge’. Jesus Christ is not Lord by consent of the people. He is the everlasting, unending ruler, the only Son of God; His divinity is a matter of fact whether we believe it or not, is irrelevant. The Son is Lord of all things for ever and one day every created being will bow the knee before Him and confess His Lordship. (See Romans 11:14)
Despite his absolute sovereignty, remember that Jesus Christ is no tyrant. He is the ‘wonderful counsellor’ and the ‘prince of peace’, He is also patient, not wanting anyone to perish but that everyone should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) Those who confess Him as Saviour now will know real life on this earth and for time and eternity in Heaven. ‘The zeal of the Lord Almighty’ has determined that is will happen and that means no part of his promise will be unfulfilled. It’s a done deal and something worth celebrating at Christmas and all year round.
Joe Boyd (Author of Trading Places: From Hopelessness to Happiness and Trading Mindsets; God, Faith and Disability.)