Countdown to Christmas: Day 23. "For Unto Us A Child Is Born "

For Unto Us A Child Is Born 

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 (9:5)

I know, I know. This doesn’t seem like a line from a Christmas song. It’s a Bible verse often associated with Christmas. But it’s also the lyric to Scene 3, Part 1 of George Frederic Handel’s Messiah. Every year our high school choir would sing this at the Christmas concert. All the choir alumni would join us in the bleachers for the grand finale: the Hallelujah chorus.

“Unto us.” Christmas is a cosmic event. The Creator of the Universe suspends his heavenly majesty to join humanity as fully human, while remaining fully God. There’s a famous line in John’s gospel that says “For God so loved the world…” It can be easy to see the incarnation as a generic, abstract concept. But Isaiah doesn’t say “God embraces humanity,” he says “unto us a child is born.” Christ isn’t born for us or near us or at us, but to us.

Last week one of our neighbor’s packages was delivered to our home. It arrived within ninety-five feet of its intended destination. Jesus doesn’t land in the vicinity of our lives; he comes directly to us. 

He comes now to bring awe-inspiring wisdom to every crisis we face. The writer James says if we ask God for wisdom and believe that it’s coming, we are guaranteed to receive it. And if Isaiah is right, that counsel will be perfect, wonderful.

He comes now to be Mighty God. Nothing is beyond his reach. He delivers, redeems, restores and heals. That’s who God is and that’s what God does. While it’s easy to questions God’s methods, there’s no challenging God’s might.

He comes now as Everlasting Father. Not the insecure, autocratic dad. Not that “I need to re-live my glory days through my kids” dad. Not the workaholic, alcoholic, rage-aholic, you-name-it-aholic, “still wrestling my demons” dad. Not the absentee, deadbeat, only present for conception dad. He is Father. He is more than the conglomerate of the best attributes of the best dads. He is perfect, steadfast and eternal Father.

He comes to us now as Prince of Peace. In the Bible, “peace” is not the absence of conflict, nor is it a version of “inner peace.” It speaks to “wholeness”; it indicates that everything is exactly as it should be. Jesus is not an ambassador of this peace, but its champion: the Prince.

“Unto us.” Wisdom to us, power to us, love to us, peace to us. There’s no greater gift than the child that embodies all of these.

Craig Custance