by Patti Richter
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given. Isaiah 9:6 NKJV
The words proclaim a good-news message set to music that much of the Western world either welcomes or tolerates each December.
Handel’s Messiah, theultimate Christmas (and Easter) composition, contains hopeful promises from the book of Isaiah, who foretold of the coming King whose reign would never end. God spoke through the prophet to a nation weary of sin, strife, and disappointing rulers. This sounds a lot like the world today.
While Christmas carols and concertos serve to temporarily dispel some of the gloom that plagues the nations, the Word of God provides long-lasting hope for humanity. Any meager outlook regarding peace, health, and freedom, gives way to a better view.
Isaiah continues with hopeful news indeed: “And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6 NKJV).
Some 700 years before the advent of the Messiah, Isaiah spoke words that must have disconcerted and raised eyebrows among God’s people: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14 NKJV). They must have wondered when—and how—it would come about.
The prophet’s words, cast upon the waters of time, came ashore when the angel Gabriel appeared to the virgin, Mary. (More eyebrows would be raised.) But those who love the story never grow weary of the announcement: “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus…. and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:31, 33 NKJV).
While we rejoice in the gift of God’s Son, his kingdom can seem far away and unresponsive to calamities here and abroad. We may grow anxious in frustrating circumstances. Like some of the early disciples, we long to see Jesus toss our enemies over his shoulder. We desire peace and security, along with assurances of freedom and prosperity.
Like those in Isaiah’s day who awaited the advent of the Savior, we look forward to our Savior’s return. We wonder when and how this will happen. Meanwhile, if we lose heart over the condition of our world, it may be that our hearts need to refocus on Jesus in the here and now, as he is “sitting at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1 NKJV), with “all things in subjection under his feet” (Hebrews 2:8 NKJV).
The current Year of Our Lord will close out with serious unresolved issues, and the new year will surely produce fresh troubles. Yet one thing is certain:
Immanuel . . . God with us. Matthew 1:23 NKJV
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She is a freelance journalist and long-time faith columnist at BlueRibbonNews.com with more than four hundred published articles.
Patti is the co-author of the award-winning Signs of His Presence—Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of Suffering. It is the story of Luann Mire, whose godly husband was blindsided by an indictment due to a former employer’s tax fraud. The resulting prison sentence and restitution took the once joyful couple into a long season of suffering as they fought judicial tyranny. Helpless to change her situation, Luann endured a painful examination of her life and found God faithful to His promises.
Join the conversation: Do you cling to the hope we have in Jesus?