Every Christmas, I’ve heard the verses from Isaiah quoted and sung:
“Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
This year, I decided to read the surrounding verses, Isaiah chapters 8-9. Once again, in the thick of the Old Testament, Scripture points to the Coming King, our source of Hope. The One we celebrate at Christmas. The One who came, and is coming again.
To the king who wouldn’t listen, the prophet said, “The Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His Name Immanuel.”
God Himself made a way, even in the midst of humanity being too stubborn to obey Him, too proud to seek Him. Alongside the famous Christmas Scriptures that ring with Hope, the verses of Isaiah 8 and 9 are very serious.
“Be broken, you peoples, be scattered…take counsel together, but it will come to nothing, speak a word, but it will not stand, for God is with us.”
Intense words, but how wonderful for those saved by Grace, called by God out of darkness into His wonderful Light! We can take hold of the Hope in these verses, knowing that no matter what happens in the world, no matter the chaos of the circumstances, God will never leave us.
8:11: “For the Lord spoke to me thus, with His Strong Hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying, ‘Do not call conspiracy what this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear…But the Lord of hosts, Him you shall regard as Holy. Let Him be your fear….
I will wait for the Lord and I will hope in Him.
There will be no gloom for her who was in anguish before.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a Great Light, and those who dwelt in deep darkness, on them Light has shined. For to us a Son is given, unto us a Child is born; and the government shall be upon His shoulders, and His Name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His Government and of Peace, there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his Kingdom to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”
This is our Hope! This is the reason we celebrate. God has kept His Promises to Israel and has opened His Arms to the whole world. The call of Christmas is to lay aside our fears and rejoice in Hope. To refuse to fear the things the world fears, to be free of all the conspiracy the world gets caught up in. To live and delight in the fear of the Lord and trust that in Him we are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken and a King who does not change like the shifting shadows of the world.
"Merry Christmas! A thrill of Hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!"