It’s the Christmas season, and for many, the holiday festivities are in full swing. Some of us are loving it. Some of us are already just a bit tired of it.
It’s easy to forget the true meaning, the true reason, the true celebration, the true wonder of Christmas. As we make lists, buy gifts, decorate trees, bake cookies, or do our best to avoid all things red-and-green, we can forget.
If someone were to stop us in our tracks, and ask us why we celebrate Christmas, we may be jolted into remembering again. Stored in our minds, we have the answer: we celebrate Christmas because Jesus was born.
Jesus was born.
We soak up this truth each year. Among the decorations, we place reminders of this. Advent wreaths and nativity scenes and words of Joy, Peace, and Hope. Among the many traditions, we engage in reminders of this. Lighting candles and reading the Christmas Scriptures and singing the Christmas hymns. So it won’t slip from our minds. So it will sink into our hearts. So we can celebrate Jesus birth. So we can experience the God who was born in our own lives.
Long before Jesus’ birth, God spoke through the prophet Isaiah and foretold of the Messiah’s coming:
A Child would be born, and His birth would be like the dawning of light, and He would be given the name Jesus. Joy, peace, freedom, justice, and righteousness would be brought to those who walked in darkness.
In this prophecy of the Messiah’s coming, we read names by which He would be known. In Old Testament times, one’s name was directly linked with their character. A name was someone’s very identity, more than just what their parents called them when they were born. In Scripture, when it speaks of God’s Name, it is speaking of the very essence of God; of who He is. His Name is His identity.
In the names listed in Isaiah 9, we learn of the character of Jesus. We learn of the character of the God who was born, and whose birth we celebrate each Christmas:
He is wise and all-knowing, and He gives wisdom and guidance. By His Spirit, Jesus reveals truth to us. He teaches us, counseling us in truth. (John 14:26; 16:13)
He is God. He is the only God. He is all-powerful and able to accomplish His purpose and will. He is the Sovereign Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He is mighty to save. (Zephaniah 3:17) He is our mighty rock and refuge. (Psalm 62:7) He gives strength and courage. (Philippians 4:13, John 16:33)
He is personal, intimate, and caring. He provides and protects. He loves and disciplines His children, and nothing can take them from Him, or His love from them. (Romans 8:38-39) His love is everlasting. (Jeremiah 31:3)
Prince of Peace
By the pouring out of His life and the shedding of His blood, He made the way for fallen man to be reconciled to Glorious God; for there to be peace between our spirit and God’s, that we may live by the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)
This is the God who was born in a stable, where animals are kept, and laid in a manger, where animals feed.
This is the God who is Immanuel, God with us.
This is the God who left heaven and came to earth, wrapped in the flesh of a tiny, vulnerable baby.
That prophecy from Isaiah 9 came true. A Child was born. A Son was given. That all who believe in Him would not perish, would not stay in darkness, but wound have full, abundant, eternal life in Him.
That prophecy came true not just in the single event of Jesus’ birth, but it continues to be true in the daily moments of the Holy Spirit’s guiding, comforting, loving, caring, convicting, disciplining, teaching, working, healing, transforming, providing, and protecting.
For the God who is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace was not only present in the manger, but He is present now, with you today, through His Spirit.
It is because Jesus is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace, that we can have joy, peace, freedom, justice and righteousness in our hearts and in our lives, despite what is going on in the world around us, despite what situations and circumstances we may be going through, despite what heartache and loss we may be experiencing.
Take time to be in Jesus’ presence. To listen to His counsel. To let His might work in you and through you. To be enfolded in His loving embrace. To let His peace wash over you and guard your heart and mind.
Whether your a natural Christmas elf, or can sympathize a bit with Scrooge this time of year, or fall somewhere in between, remember this: Jesus was born.