For a Child has been born for us, a Son given to us; authority rests upon
His shoulders; and He is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually,
and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and His kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
As a kid, there was perhaps no phrase more exciting to say than that. My siblings and I would wake up early before my parents (a trait that my son has apparently inherited) and we would burst out of our rooms waking up my parents repeating those two words over and over until they were ready to let us go into the family room where the Christmas tree would stand for three weeks out of the year.
Of course there was great excitement over the presents that had been given to us, but every year something else would always catch my eye. Three wise men figurines that had completed their long journey from the back of our house to the front where they would “arrive” every year on Christmas morning at the small manger scene my parents had placed. Though I didn’t make a big deal about it as a kid, those three wise men arriving to give gifts to the baby Jesus is a memory that has been permanently engraved into my heart and mind.
Amidst the different presents that were given every year, there was a tangible reminder of the same and constant present that God has given us – God’s Son to be our comfort, our strength, our peace, and our joy.
As I reread Isaiah 9:6–7, I am particularly drawn towards the word “given.” God has given us so much – not out of obligation or begrudging duty but out of love. As you give and receive gifts this year, take a moment to reflect upon and share with others, some of the things that God has given you that you treasure. Perhaps it’s the gift of another year. Perhaps it’s the gift of health. Or the gift of family or friends or memories or opportunities or second chances or peace or joy or simply the reminder that God gave the greatest and costliest gift so that we might spend the rest of eternity unwrapping and enjoying God’s love for us.
Remember, “it’s Christmas!”
– Rev. Dr. Drew Sams