The Standard December 24, 2020
“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future, he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan — The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest.” “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, 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 forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:2-3a; 6-7)
Light. Joy. Counsel. Protection. Adoption as children. Peace. Eternal goodness. Justice. Righteousness. The zeal of the Lord.
We have reason to celebrate this Christmas. Unto us a child, indeed, is born. In the midst of any darkness or difficulty, we have Jesus who lights our lives and gives us hope. For us there is the advantage of seeing this in retrospect. In the eighth century BC this prophecy came to Israel, promising that the Lord God would give them cause to rejoice and relax, replacing their gloom and distress with extraordinary blessings which would last forever. These promises are ours, as well.
Charles Spurgeon wrote in his commentary on Isaiah 9, “We are glad to be ruled by ‘Immanuel, God with us.’ This also is a door of hope to us. That Jesus shall be the monarch of our hearts is our exceeding joy. To us he shall be always ‘Wonderful.’ When we think of him, or speak about him, it shall be with reverent awe. When we need advice and comfort, we will fly to him, for he shall be our Counselor. When we need strength, we will look to him as our Mighty God. Born again by his Spirit, we will be his children, and he shall be the everlasting Father. Full of joy and rest, we will call him Prince of Peace. Are you willing to have Christ to govern you? Will you spend your lives in praising him? You are willing to have Christ to pardon you, but we cannot divide him, and therefore you must also have him to sanctify you. You must not take the crown from his head; but accept him as the monarch of your soul. If you would have his hand to help you, you must obey the scepter which it grasps.”
This Christmas let us respond in love and faithfulness to the child who was born in Bethlehem and who continues to be Immanuel, God with us.