The Christ of Christmas
Ron Hamilton, Conference Minister
Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—  The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.  You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.  For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.  Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.  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.  Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
This prophecy points people to the promised Messiah, Jesus the Christ. This is the season in which we celebrate the promise of Scripture, “To us a child is born…to us a Son is given.”
Do we really know Jesus? We tend to choose the Jesus that fits our needs and desires. Many are drawn to Jesus in the manger. They are warmed by the story of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, and the wise men. Others are drawn to the Jesus who ministered to broken people because they have so many needs in their life that need God’s touch. Others are drawn to Jesus on the cross and are touched by His self-sacrifice for the lives of others.
Isaiah 9 helps us fully understand who Jesus is. He is Wonderful Counselor who is a leader worth following and listening to. He is Mighty God who provides power for daily living. He is Everlasting Father, our enduring provider and protector. He is the Prince of Peace who restores wholeness to our lives as we experience His forgiveness and grace. He was given the name, Jesus, which means, “God saves!”
The prophecy of Isaiah ends with the assurance that He is the ruling King. Handel’s Messiah picks up on this when it says, “And he shall reign forever and ever.” The earliest confession of faith was very simple. Early believers stated their beliefs around the statement, “Jesus is Lord!” True faith is open to His rule and reign in every area of our lives.
The Apostle Paul met the Lord Jesus, and it changed his life. One of the greatest desires that he had is summed up in the words of Philippians 3:10, “I want to know Christ…” These simple words are a model for prayer and faith in this season.