When a child is born, you can see the joy on the faces of family and friends. It is a time of jubilation and celebration. Phone calls are made, sometimes across the word to break the good news of the new entrant into the family with congratulatory messages pouring in from many quarters.
There was however one special child whose birth was celebrated many years before the birth event. In Isaiah 9: 6, we read, ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…’.
This statement was made in the present tense, though it was a prophecy for an event meant to happen in the future. This was because as far as God was concerned, it was a done deal. Nothing was going to prevent it from happening. Although human eyes had not seen it, as far as heaven was concerned all things concerning the incarnation of this special child had been accomplished.
In Jewish culture, when a child is born, people come together and give the child a name. Most importantly, the child is blessed by the people and especially by its parents. In the case of this special child however, we are told what blessing, anointing and power he would possess.
Who is this child being spoken of here? Let us fast forward hundreds of years into the future. A young lady was in her home, possibly humming and smiling while undertaking her chores and possible day-dreaming about her fiancé, possibly excited about seeing him again soon. All of a sudden, she sees a strange man standing in front of her and must have been frightened. This prompted the following response from the visitor, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God’. In the next verse he states the purpose of his coming. ‘You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus’ (Luke 1:30,31)
Back to Isaiah, we are given more information about this special child, “and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6b)
It is noteworthy that after we are told that a child is born, the next sentence is, ‘and the government will be upon his shoulder’. This reveals to us the office of the one who was being spoken about here.
The shoulder is used figuratively to describe responsibility of office. We all know that a government rules or administers over a people or a nation. This therefore tells us that the child to be born is of royal blood. He was coming to rule, but not a physical world as many expected, but the spiritual. This is because the one who controls the spiritual, influences the physical. What an amazing child this is!
Next we read what he will be called, ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6) The word wonderful means, ‘excellent, perfect and a marvel’. Jesus embodied all of this in His person. A counsellor is one who guides, who helps us make the right choices. He not only teaches us but also lives by what he preaches.
The name ‘Mighty God’, consists of two great and powerful words. Mighty means superior power and strength. It also means great and massive. God is the only deity and object of our worship. That this child is called by this name rubbishes the argument of some people that Jesus was a mere human being and existed separate from God.
He is called the ‘Everlasting Father’. What a comfort to those who have lost their human fathers! We have a Father whose existence is forever. No wonder He said ‘Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5)
Finally, the child is called ‘Prince of Peace’. One of the greatest things man has always been seeking for is peace. The more man seeks for peace, the more it seems peace eludes him. This is because true peace is found only in one person and that person is Christ Jesus. He confirms this in John 14:27, ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’
As we celebrate another Christmas, let us not lose sight of the one whose birth we celebrate, the one who gives Christmas its real meaning. All the things prophesied concerning Him were accomplished when he came into the word and are still being accomplished today.
May we all experience Him in a special way as we celebrate another season of His birth!
Merry Christmas to you!