Our Journey Online - December 19, 2011
December 19, 2011
The Greatest Christmas Verse
6For 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, the Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. —Isaiah 9:6-7
As I was thinking about the Christmas season recently, I decided to do a little survey with people: “What do you think is the greatest Christmas verse in the Bible?” I’ve had a few suggestions. Some people said, “You know, I really like Isaiah 7:14b, ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.’”A great verse, but not the greatest Christmas verse in the Bible.
Other people think it should be Matthew 1:21,“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Also great, but not the greatest Christmas verse in the Bible. Some insist, “Well, then it’s got to be that other angelic announcement, Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Incorrect. I love that verse, but it’s not the greatest Christmas verse in the Bible.
Are you ready for it? Here it is: “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, the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Seven hundred years before Christ was born, Isaiah delivered this great and good news! The other verses I mentioned are great in their own way, but Isaiah 9:6 is the widest, deepest, longest, and therefore greatest Christmas verse in God’s Word. Every word is worth thinking about!
For example, that first little word “for” points back to the reason for the announcement: “The people who walked in darkness. . . “ (Isaiah 9:2a). That’s us, mankind in trouble. Isaiah 9:6 is pure prophetic language—talking about an event before it happens as if it has happened: “. . . a child is born . . . a Son is given.” I mean, imagine the joy offered to heaven and earth when the greatest birth announcement ever was made; that God was sending His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to save us from the darkness of sin to which we were otherwise doomed. God declared it as a done deal!
· How am I planning to enjoy and celebrate the good news of the Gospel this year at Christmas?
· Based on my experience, what are the differences between an accidental and intentional Christmas season?
Heavenly Father, thank You that Your announcements are never tentative or uncertain. You know, and therefore, You can declare. Thank You for filling Your Word with the truth upon which we can rest our lives and our eternal destiny. And thank You for Christmas, when we can once again marvel at how You worked it all out! I pray this in the name of Jesus, our Christmas child. Amen.