If you are reading this blog, I would be willing to bet you know or at least have heard the real Christmas story. Not the real St. Nick or why we have Christmas trees and stockings; but the actual Christmas story. If you are a beliver, recent or seasoned, not a Christmas goes by when you don’t hear some version of the birth of the Jesus. And rightfully so! After all, He was God’s only son sent to earth, born as a human, raised to die on a cross for our sins in order for us to escape eternal damnation in the flames of hell. I would say it is a pretty big deal. But here’s the problem with it…
We have let His story grow stale.
We have. Christmas today is less about celebrating His coming and more about consumerism and materialism. Now, let me preface what I’m going to say by saying this: I am a big Christmas fan. I don’t believe all the Christmas stuff as we know it is bad. In my family, we do presents and parties and big feasts and decorations and visits to Santa and all the Hallmark movies you can stomach. The problem comes when we allow the message of this season go by the wayside. When we aren’t “in the Christmas spirit” (this was me about a week ago), it is a problem because it means that we aren’t focusing on what this season is truly about. Instead we are allowing ourselves to be bogged down by the modern version of a holiday celebration.
So to fix that we need to turn our focus back to The One and allow the other things to simply be a byproduct of the celebration of the birth and eventual resurrection of Jesus Christ. So how do we do that? Well, just like we did back in April, we need to look at the Old Testament. Because Jesus didn’t come out of nowhere, people. The actual prophecy of Christ started 4000(ish) years before he was born to Mary – sometime between 1a.d and 4a.d. If you turn to Genesis 3:15, what does God tell Satan He will put between Him and the women?
An enmity. That is Jesus. This was the first reference to Christ. So from the very beginning of sin, Jesus was in place. God had a plan from the beginning of mankind to send Jesus as a buffer between us and Satan. Some translations say offspring and others say seed, but either way that is the first reference to Jesus. All throughout the Old Testament, God is setting His people up for the arrival of Jesus. But if we fast forward 3500 years – give or take – we come to Isaiah 9. That is exactly where we will spend our time as we lead up to Christmas and the celebration that belongs to our Savior.
Slowly read Isaiah 9:1-7.
According to verse 6, who is this section of scripture referring to?
And what four names is he called?
Today we are going to dissect the first of these names: Wonderful Counselor.
Wonderful is from the Hebrew word Pele‘ (peh’-leh) meaning miracle. Take a look at Psalms 77:14 – at the verb form of of this Hebrew word.
Who is verse 14 talking about?
What does it say he does?
The same word is used as a discrition and an action. A thing to be done. But before we move on, read all of Psalm 77. Drink in what David is saying about God. If you can, read it aloud.
The same word used to describe what/who Jesus was, is the same word used to descibe not only God, but to tell us what He did. Jesus, son of the Most High, not only came to earth at His command, but was also given the power of the wonder of God. I mean, does that not just blow your mind? It does mine. This is one of those things better said than written, but y’all….think about it. Read Psalm 77 again, and this time, give it some power and umph. Move your arms, raise your voice, find the passion David was writing with. This same God who did all these things….waters, clouds, rain, thunder, lighting, etc…gave those same wonders to Christ as a name in order to tell people, hundreds of years before His cry was heard on earth, who He was and who He would be to us.
Next, let’s move on to Counselor.
The Hebrew of this word is yâ-‘ats (yaw-ats) meaning to advise, deliverate, resolve. It is exactly what we think of as a counselor today: someone that guides us or helps us. In Isaiah 28:29, we find both of these words, in a different capacity. What does it say?
Jeremiah 32:19 also references this same theme, but uses the english word counsel.
From the beginning we see that Jesus wasn’t just here to save us. As if that wasn’t plenty, He was here to guide us and direct us – a line to follow, so to speak, to the Father. Look at His ministry. What did He do throughout His ministry? Did He just walk the streets like a Biblical Oprah handing out healing? “You are healed and you are healed. Everyone is healed!” No. He advised people. He counseled people. The disciples are an easy example. His entire ministry was dedicated to training up those men and then, in His last command to them in Matthew 28, He told them to go and make more discples. Thousands of years later He is doing the same for us through the Word and through His ministry on earth.
So while it is easy to simply look at the fact that Christmas is celebrating a baby, even as a baby He was not without purpose and plan. We do ourselves – and this season – an injustice when we look at Jesus as a “sweet little baby in a swaddle” and inadvertently give a mental “choochy-coo”. When you think of Christmas don’t stop at the frailness of our Savior as a baby wrapped in swaddling clothing — look forward to the man He would become. Look at Him as the same Savior that 33 years later would hang on a cross and split the temple curtain from top to bottom with one final breath. That, my friends, is the Savior we need to celebrate.