For to us a child is born, to 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. (Isaiah 9:6, NIV)
Written over 700 years before the birth of Christ, this prophecy spoke of a person who would redeem Israel. A son would be given who would be compassionate as a counselor, yet all-powerful as God. He would reveal the everlasting Father and bring peace between this infinite being and His finite creation. Unfortunately, Israel at this time was falling apart under Assyria, but God embedded into this decaying nation the promise of a Messiah, and He fulfilled that promise in Jesus Christ. When we feel like our lives are falling apart God promises us hope in Jesus Christ. Jesus still reveals the Father to us in wonderful ways (David Whitehead).
This picture is so beautiful and so serene looking. Mary and the Christ child are swathed in soft, beautiful clothing. That is so wrong. Mary and Joseph were probably dirt poor. Their clothes were probably not soft linen or cotton but rough wool. We want — I want — to idealize Christ born in a barn; but there was nothing ideal about it.
“And this shall be a sign unto you: you’ll find a baby wrapped in clothes lying in a manager” (Luke 2:12)
That was the great sign the angels were singing of? A baby wrapped in cheap cloths and lying in a dirty manger. It seemed so ordinary, yet God uses the ordinary in extraordinary ways. The birth of Jesus Christ shouts to us that the ordinary may not be so ordinary after all; that God had come to earth and associated himself with all that we experience in life. May the Christmas story open our eyes and cause us to look at the ordinary in dynamic new ways (David Whitehead)
Reflection: Notice Pastor Whitehead wrote that Israel at the time of Isaiah’s message was falling apart. Remind you of any place and any time?
Published December 17, 2016