“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, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end [. . . .]” Isaiah 9:6-7
As we approach Christmas Day, we may recall happy memories of reunions with families, feasts of favorite foods, and gifts given and received. Christmas memories may be less than merry, though, for folks whose lives are shadowed with loneliness, loss, illness, disability, deprivation, or other harsh challenges.
However, the certitude of the “reason for the season” takes us above and beyond past and present trials. That reason is the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the eternal, redeeming result of his life and love. Do we, in all the cultural clutter that surrounds Christmas, sometimes forget that the coming of Christ was a game changer for all who accept and worship him?
Our divine Savior came to earth wrapped in human flesh and was much acquainted with grief, as we are at times. In prophecies of Isaiah 53:5 we find: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” Eternal peace and healing give us much to commemorate and celebrate, even in the midst of life’s challenges.
Yes, peace and healing give wings to our “Hallelujah!” as we sing words of Isaac Watts (1674-1748) and music of the renowned Handel (1685-1759) in: “Joy to the world! The Lord is come; / Let earth receive her King; / Let every heart prepare Him room, / And heaven and nature sing [. . . .] ” In the hymn’s last stanza, we rejoice that Jesus “rules the world with truth and grace.” And, we joyfully worship him for “wonders of His love.”
Holy Father, we humbly offer our gratitude for your gift of Jesus. His redeeming love in our lives is the everlasting gift that we gratefully and joyously celebrate. May Jesus not only rule the world now and in ages to come, but may he also reign in our hearts—forever and ever. Hallelujah!
Kay Henry is a columnist for the Claremore Progress. All Bible quotations are from “The Holy Bible, English Standard Version” (ESV), unless otherwise noted.