December 20, 2010, Fourth Monday in Advent
Scripture: Isaiah 9:6-7
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!
Thanks to Handel’s Messiah these words run off our tongue with familiarity. Isaiah 9 serves as a major them for the composition, but, even more, it serves as a major guide to understanding the Christ child and what it will mean when the Messiah comes. Each phrase gives depth and perspective to the Messiah’s character.
The first phrase tells us that Christ came for us all. Christ did not pick and chose whom he came for. He came for us all – both Jew and Gentile.
He will bring forth his government, the kingdom of God, and it will not be like the corrupt governments of human institutions. He will rule with fairness and justice. This will be Christ’s agenda. This will be his mantra.
He will be known as Wonderful Counselor, as he will give wisdom and knowledge of what it means to follow God. He will show us the way to being one with God, and with each other. He will be known as Mighty God, for Christ is God. We often want to think of Christ only in his human terms, but Christ was fully human and fully divine. This allows him to be in constant communication with the Father. He focuses us upon the Father, the creator of the world, and points us to what it means to be in relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
And, Christ is the Prince of Peace. He will come to bring peace, hope, and justice to the world. He will bring hope to the forgotten, and tear down the walls of injustice.
Think of these images of Christ today. This is the Christ whom we await on Christmas morning. This is the Christ we await to return today. How does this image shape your understanding of Christ? How does it help you focus on Christ this Christmas week?
May we be filled with the love and knowledge to know that Christ is our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.
Father, thank you for giving us your Son. We are reminded of Christ’s true character and rejoice in his name. May we be filled with awe and wonder for this child. In Christ’s Name. Amen.