Your Certain Hope This Christmas

One of the most familiar passages quoted over the Christmas season is Isaiah 9:2;6…

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned…. 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.”

Perhaps too familiar, as it’s easy to lose the awe and wonder of this prophecy written 700 years before the birth of Christ. There is so much richness to this truly astonishing passage.

It begins by noticing that our world is described as one of “deep darkness”. Not just darkness. Deep darkness.

You and I are very familiar with the pain and brokenness of life. This darkness is manifested in so many ways. Failing health. Broken relationships. Civil unrest. Drug-addicted children. Divorce. The death of a loved one. Domestic abuse. Financial ruin. Depression. Loneliness. Fear. Aging. Suicide.

I could go on and on, but the point is we all personally experience what this darkness feels like. And you know firsthand what living in a land of “deep darkness” means. This is the starting point of the Christmas story and its relevance to you today.

The backdrop of Christmas is the deep darkness that envelopes the world and our lives.

The point of this passage, however, isn’t to dwell on this harsh reality. Rather, it’s to comfort you and me that God is not ignorant of our plight. He sees. And knows. He is acutely aware of the brokenness in which you and I live.

But even more, He isn’t passive about it. He’s come to the rescue.

Christmas is God’s statement that He is deeply cognizant of the darkness that defines our world. And He broke through that darkness with an eternal light. Christmas is the “dawning” of that great light designed to bring you hope.

So what is that great light that has dawned… that those of us walking in deep darkness have seen? A child. A son. But no ordinary child or son. It’s the nature of the son that makes all the difference. And it’s these attributes that this entire promise of eternal hope hangs on.

First, the child is called Wonderful Counselor. God doesn’t just know the difficulties and challenges you face. He is there for you, to give you the counsel and wisdom you need. This first attribute is practical and intended to give you assurance God has an answer for what faces you today. And you will marvel at His counsel!

Second, He is called Mighty God. This child is no ordinary child, but God Himself. Mighty God. This attribute is designed to assure you that He is the one who is able to vanquish the darkness. I love how John puts it in John 1:4-5:

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Why? Because the child was the Mighty God!

Next, the child is described as Everlasting Father, also affirming His deity. This child has no beginning and no end. Yes, human, but without beginning and end. And He is a father to you. This attribute of the child is to reassure you that He is not distant and uninvolved, but rather is intimately concerned for you as a loving and adoring father.

Finally, the child is called the Prince of Peace. He owns peace. And it is what He brings to our world. And your life. The kind of peace that Paul describes as transcending all understanding. This attribute of the child is to help you understand that He will bring an end to the war that darkness has waged since the beginning of time. The kind of lasting peace that only a Mighty God and Everlasting Father could offer.

It’s why the one thing the heavenly armies declared when they appeared to the shepherds was “peace on earth”. God Himself was taking on flesh to forever end the conflict that brought such deep darkness to our world.

Yes, Jesus is the light that overcame the darkness. And He has come for you. He knows exactly what you are going through today. He knows the darkness that seeks to destroy your life. And He has already overpowered it.

So embrace Him. Trust Him. And praise Him that He came for you on Christmas day with the power to forever vanquish the darkness.

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