By Dr. Al Hearne II
God is Wonderful! Isaiah 9:6 is a Messianic prophecy, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace," foretelling God's most wonderful gift to all people of all time, the gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. After being fearfully and wonderfully made in His image, Adam and Eve sinned and forever changed their and our relationship with God. In his loving-kindness, God created a path for a person to enter into a restored relationship with Him.
The birth of Jesus signifies a pivotal shift in human history. It is the moment where God's plan of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone assures our redemption. The birth of Jesus, the Son of God, into humanity as a fully human baby, living a sinless life to become the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, should instill in us a profound sense of humility and gratitude. Moreover, the birth of Jesus illustrates God's loving-kindness for all, irrespective of their status in life. God manifested his loving-kindness by choosing a humble, typical family for His Son's birth. Jesus was not born into wealth or royalty but into a simple carpenter's family, reminding us that God uses those who follow His word and honor Him, regardless of their social status. Mary and Joseph could only find lodging in a stable at his birth. We learn from Luke 2:8-14 that God chose to announce Jesus' birth not to the royalty, not to the powerful, but to a group of lowly shepherds tending to the flocks in the field:
"8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" On his eighth day of life, Joseph and Mary could not even afford to sacrifice a lamb (Leviticus 12:8), so they offered "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons" (Luke 2:24).
Yet, despite not meeting a single criterion of how the world defines greatness, the birth of Jesus marks a pivotal shift in human history. The birth of Jesus is the most wonderful gift that God has given His people. As we celebrate this Christmas season, we should remember that Jesus truly is the reason for the season and thank God for His most wonderful present. Many years ago, I learned this acrostic (so many years ago, I don't remember where). It is impossible to remove Jesus from Christmas because each letter of the word stands for God's loving-kindness:
C - Christ (Isa. 9:6, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.")
H - Helper (Heb 13:6, "So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'")
R - Redeemer (Eph. 1:7, "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.")
I - Immanuel (Mat. 1:23, "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel.")
S - Savior (Mat. 1:21, "She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.")
T - Truth (John 14:6, "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'")
M - Messiah (John 4:25, "The woman said to him, 'I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.'")
A - Adam the second (1 Cor. 15:45, "Thus it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being'; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.")
S - Son of God (Gal. 4:4, "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law.")
This acrostic for Christmas reinforces the significance of Jesus as the focal point of the season. From being our Wonderful Counselor to the Prince of Peace, Jesus embodies God's attributes and fulfills each of these roles in our lives.
As we celebrate this Christmas, let’s reflect on the profound meaning of Jesus's birth and express gratitude for God's most wonderful gift – the opportunity for redemption through faith in Christ. In this season and beyond, may the message of Christmas resonate in our hearts, reminding us that Jesus is the reason for the season and that God's loving-kindness is manifested through His Son, our Savior.
In light of the profound significance of Jesus being our Savior and the embodiment of God's loving-kindness, have you personally accepted Jesus as your Savior? If so, how has this decision influenced your life and relationship with God?
[The oil painting, "The Wonderful Gift of Jesus" was created using DALL-E.]