“For unto 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. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.”
I love Christmas. Friends, family, stockings, Christmas trees, ornaments, lights, Christmas parties, red cups, and ugly sweaters. As Julie Andrews would say, “These are a few of my favorite things.”
Christmas is a wonderful time of year to reflect on the past year. We can reflect in one of two ways:
- Look at where we are and where God has brought us. In essence, it is a way to give thanks to God for his faithfulness.
- A look back at the rough stuff in the past year as a way to propel us into the future. In this view we have the opportunity to give thanks to God for what he will do because we know that he is faithful.
Gift-giving really isn’t my love language. I like getting gifts, but it’s not something that ultimately makes me feel loved. Give me your time, hug, or hand shake and I’m pretty well set. If you are looking for a gift, or gift ideas, you might want to look somewhere else. I know of the importance of gifts; it is just not my strongest area to show love.
Jesus wasn’t born on December 25, but we celebrate him there because we need to celebrate him somewhere. What a glorious way to celebrate the light of the world because Jesus is the Word that John speaks of in John 1:14 (NIV),
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
John was speaking of a future experience. He saw Jesus the man. He saw who Jesus would grow into and declared his glory. John didn’t get to see Jesus at his birth. His birth was reserved for someone else.
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find the baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:8-12 (NIV)
How amazing was that! God did not proclaim the coming of his son with fanfares to kings and princes. It is even more amazing that he did not choose to be born to a family in power. Yes, he was born into the lineage of David the king, but they were not in power at that time. This lets us know which government would be on the shoulders of Jesus. Standing before Pilate the week before his death (John 18:36, NIV) Jesus had this to say:
“Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.’”
The kingdom of God is an eternal kingdom. Earthly kingdoms are temporal, over time they crumble and fade and are left to be read in history books by scholars and others who are interested. Isaiah declares “the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.” When Jesus ascended he now sits at the right hand of God to be our intermediary between us and God. The greatness of this government will have no end.
The first people God chose to let them know a savior was being born were not the elite. God chose to provide Himself to loners in the field. They were ordinary people doing an ordinary job who were about to witness an extraordinary event. They immediately left to find the stable where Jesus was laying and then went out to spread the word about what they had just witnessed.
There he was, God in the flesh, wrapped as a gift to all mankind for salvation. What then, do you want to spread the word concerning the child who would come to take away the sins of the people? How appropriate to celebrate Christmas with gifts considering Jesus was the greatest gift of all?
Peace, love and Christ because you know He died for you!