One of the favorite Bible passages often heard during the Christmas season is Isaiah 9:6:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6, KJV)
It is a powerful passage, with a powerful message that has captivated the hearts of poets, preachers, and kings. Some are drawn to the prophetic aspect, citing Isaiah’s foretelling of the arrival of Christ. Others are moved by the depth of meaning found within the Savior’s titles. Composer Georg Frederick Handel included the passage in his beloved Oratorio, Messiah,” which is frequently heard during the Christmas season. The verse is often quoted in church bulletins, banners, and even web sites like CaseStudies. Yet, it amazes me how easily we let the words of this powerful passage pass us by unnoticed, leaving us unmoved, unmotivated, and unchanged. Embedded within Isaiah 9:6 are statements that will revolutionize our relationship with Christ, if we’ll only embrace them.
Look again at the very first line in the verse: “For unto us a child is born.” This is a personalized and power-packed phrase; it doesn’t say “for unto them a child is born,” or “unto a few special people a child is born.” The verse says exactly what means to say: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” That means you, and me, and your crazy uncle, and that guy at work that you can’t stand, and your next door neighbor—Christ was born, lived, and died for all of us.
Meditate on those words. Think them through carefully. As you grasp the truth of this verse, the well-worn phrase “Jesus is the reason for the season” becomes hollow and empty. Jesus is not the “reason for the season.” We are the “reason for the season.” Jesus didn’t come simply to fulfill prophecy, or for the sake of His own well-being and happiness. Jesus came on our behalf, to bridge the gap between mankind and the Father. That’s what the real celebration of Christmas is about—and if that realization doesn’t make you want to whoop for joy, you need to check your pulse and made sure you’re still alive.
Consider the story of Christmas in its full context. In human terms, it took a lot of hard work and coordination to put the event together, starting with many Old Testament prophets who foretold the Messiah’s birth. The co-ordinated pregnancies of Elizabeth and Mary were the next task, made even more challenging Mary’s divinely ordained virgin conception. Next, there’s the situation with Joseph, the manipulation of Roman government, and the precise coordination of the census with Mary’s gestation, putting mary and Joseph in Bethlehem at just the right time to fulfill the prophecies. God also had to communicate with the Magi (the wise men) and direct them to leave at the right time to search for the newborn king, along with the astronomical manipulations required to produce that special star that they followed. In human terms, this massive production made the most complex of man’s modern world-wide coordination of events look like a grade-school play.
Why did God go through all that trouble? Just to prove He could do it? To introduce His Son to mankind with great pomp and ceremony? So we would have an excuse for big, fancy celebrations in our homes and churches?
And, God did all of that just for you.
“Unto us (you and I) a child is born… and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”