We celebrate Christmas because…

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.

For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.

Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.

He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Isaiah 9:2-7

The book of Isaiah was written 700 years before the birth of Jesus and it contains some of my favorite prophecies about him.  Long before he arrived on the scene, Isaiah was inspired by the Holy Spirit to describe the coming Savior to his people. And as we hurry through the Christmas season, it’s crucial to reflect on why we even celebrate Christmas. Sure, most of us understand that Christmas has been hijacked by materialism and we try to regain the proper focus by maybe being a little bit more kind and generous than we are the rest of the year.  We set up our ceremonial manger scene. We might even open our Bible and read the Christmas story.  But when you read this passage in Isaiah, you can’t miss the fact that the birth of Jesus wasn’t just about the Star of Bethlehem, the baby in a manger or the wise men bearing gifts.  The birth of Jesus was God coming as close as he possibly could so that those who really know him can be changed forever. Not just during a festive holiday which doesn’t always take its proper place – but every moment of their life.

Who did Isaiah say the Savior would be? 

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” — Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus and the assurance of eternal salvation through his atoning death are living in darkness. Maybe on the surface it doesn’t always seem that way. Maybe they are successful in life and seem to have it all together, but ultimately they do not have eternal hope. They don’t have answers to life’s hardest questions or the peace that passes understanding when things don’t make sense. We celebrate Christmas because Jesus is the great light that shines in the darkness. (John 8:12)

“…you have shattered the yoke that burdens them” — In this world we all have burdens. Financial burdens. Health burdens. Sadness and pain. We celebrate Christmas because Jesus has made a way for us to ultimately be freed from anything that burdens us. As a follower of Christ, we can put our earthly struggles into heavenly perspective and know that Jesus has prepared a place for us in heaven where none of the bad things in our life will be allowed. (John 14:1-3)

“Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” — God created us to be in relationships. If you think about the people in your life, you can usually describe an attribute of theirs that draws you to them. Some people make you laugh. Some may give good advice. Others comfort. And others give you strength. But if we’re honest we know that no one person can be all things. If we are expecting them to, were setting them up for failure and ourselves up for disappointment. We celebrate Christmas because Jesus is all things. He alone can make our joy complete. (John 15:11)

“The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” — Zeal is an awesome word. It means: devotion, fierceness, intensity, passion. God’s zeal for us. His devotion. His passion. His deep, unmatched love for us accomplished our salvation. We celebrate Christmas because God loved us so much that he sent his only Son. (John 3:16)

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