Read Isaiah 9:2-7

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;

those who lived in a land of deep darkness—

on them light has shined.

You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy;

they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest,

as people exult when dividing plunder.

For the yoke of their burden,

and the bar across their shoulders,

the rod of their oppressor,

you have broken as on the day of Midian.

For all the boots of the tramping warriors

and all the garments rolled in blood

shall be burned as fuel for the fire.

For a child has been born for us,

a son given to us;

authority rests upon his shoulders;

and he is named Wonderful Counselor,

Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

His authority shall grow continually,

and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom.

He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness

from this time onward and forevermore.

The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

 

from Pastor H. Thomas Chafin

First Christian Church, St. Albans

In the Hebrew tradition, a person’s name was designed to set that person apart from any other person. But before the four names Isaiah gave the King who was to come, we first hear the words: “Unto us a Child is born, a Son is given.” A Child destined for suffering, abuse and misunderstanding. A Child whose life was in danger shortly after His birth. It is a story of a God who gave until it hurt….who gave until He had nothing left to give.

It wasn’t easy to be the Savior of a world that didn’t want to be saved, and for the most part, still doesn’t. The world’s response is: “give us the Child, it’s a wonderful story. Give us a beautiful holiday, but don’t give us a Savior – especially, one wanting to save us from our real problem, sin.”

What did God see in Christmas? He had a plan in mind, and it was not a last minute plan which He hurriedly put in place because it looked as though things were going badly. From the beginning, He knew what He was doing. The entire Old Testament rings with excitement of the coming Messiah and God’s ultimate plan for the world.

That Child, that Son would be a Wonderful Counselor, describing not only what He does, but also who He is. God’s Christmas greeting includes: “I’ve come so you might have life and that life will be the fullest life possible for any human being to experience,” not just in the future, but right now!

As we give thanks for your Gift to us, O God,

help us to know the great salvation he brings. Amen.

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