“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
The time, energy and effort we put towards something often indicates our love for it. Those who decorate every square inch of their yards with Christmas lights either really love Jesus, or they love Christmas lights! Those family members who spend lots of money on presents, value presents. Those who insist upon particular traditions, love traditions. Just as we can tell what we love by looking at our bank accounts, so when it comes to celebrating Christmas- we can tell by how we spend our resources, our money, our priorities what matters most.
The Christmas Eve service we heard last night at the church we attended highlighted Jesus’ life in insightful ways. The pastor pointed out how Christ came from humble beginnings in Galilee to a young teenage virgin named Mary and a blue-collar working dad named Jospeh. Jesus never owned a home, he never got married or had kids, he had no possessions or position in society. He was very obscure until he turned thirty and began his public ministry. At that point he began to standout above the rest of Israels teachers, prophets, princes and kings. Jesus immediately became popular because of what he said about God’s Kingdom and what he did for God’s people. Yet the tide turned against him and he died a public death upon a cross. His reputation was solidified with a bodily resurrection coming three days later.
Today, Jesus is the most revered religious leader the world over. More people call him Lord than any other figure. More books have been written about him, wars fought over him, schools and hospitals built in his name than anyone in human history. Why? Because he was who he said he was — Immanuel, God with us. He was God in the flesh.
Yet it all began in a simple manger in Bethlehem. A story you’ve heard many, many times. Old Testament prophecies point to his birth, his ministry and his reign, rejection and resurrection. Yet though it all, we have a God who came down as a child, as a son, to become a Wonderful Counselor for the world, a Mighty God, an Everlasting Father and a Prince of Peace.
Has Jesus become these things for you? Have you acknowledged his Lordship in your life? Have you submitted to his love and kindness? What is keeping us from surrendering all we have to the One who surrendered all for us?
The point of his story is that God loves you deeply. Each and everyone. And as the pastor in the Christmas Eve service last night mentioned, the world is filled with people who are ignoring God. Don’t be one of those persons. Turn to the Lord, reposed to the Master, lean in to the manger and allow the Christ Child to become your hope this Christmas.
”O Lord God, thank you for loving us. Thank you for your power and presence in Bethlehem so many years ago. Thank you that you live even now, moving among us, living inside us. Come now, Holy Spirit, and help us say yes to your love. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen