For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Our world is a mess, but it is always a mess: political conflicts, selfish government leaders, folk facts vs. actual facts, folk facts keep winning, agendas coming at you from every angle, culture wars, shootings everyday, pastors and Christian leaders are abandoning the gospel for a nationalistic version of Christianity that hides the cross and promotes the flag, and Covid is ramping up again.
Things are bad.
But this really is the perfect time for Christmas.
Christmas is God’s way of saying nothing you humans do will ever do.
I’m going to need to come down there.
When Isaiah wrote this prophecy 600 years before the birth of Jesus the world was in a similar place. Nationalism, injustice, confusion about sexuality, man-centered religion and fear of imposing armies.
Into this world God gives a promise to the church that he gives to us today. It’s a promise that is inherent in the Christmas Story. This child will be a political, governmental leader who will rule the world with grace. He will be a Counselor for the journey. He will be the Mighty God who, as God, will bring order and blessing out of chaos. Jesus is the Everlasting Father of the worldwide church (think Father of nations here, not to be confused with God the Father) so there will be perfect church leadership. He is the Prince who will bring peace to families, neighborhoods, cities and nations. He will bring peace to our worried souls.
As we finish the Advent season where we contemplated the return of Christ, let us remember that he came once and will come again. And as we wait, we meditate on Him at his first coming: becoming human, accomplishing salvation, revealing God, speaking his contradictory true truth into the world, and rising from death to begin making the world new.
There is Hope in the darkness!
But that hope is in nothing humans can do.
He came and will come again to bring hope to the present.
So have yourself a merry little Christmas!