What’s the best gift you ever received for Christmas? Not the one you bought for yourself and placed under the tree. Not the one you stood in line on the 26th to return for cash so you could get the size, color, or item you really wanted. Not the one you saved for next year’s white elephant gift exchange or National Regifting Day.
The best gift is not necessarily the one you thought you wanted the most. It’s not the one that we place at the top of our wish list. The best gift doesn’t always come in the biggest box or is wrapped in the shiniest paper and have the biggest bow on top.
The best gift is the one that is personally picked out just for you. The best gift is the one you open and exclaim, “How did you know? This is not what I asked for, but it’s what I always wanted!”
In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah proclaimed that God’s best gift to us is a child. It is a son whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. Jesus is God’s Christmas gift to us.
In Isaiah 9:6-7, we read,
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, 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.
Isaiah used four descriptive names or two-word titles which revealed the character of this child. The child who was born, this son who was given would be both God and man.
When we are discouraged and ready to give up, we need a counselor who will come alongside and encourage us.
God’s gift to us is more than just one who dispenses good ideas. As Isaiah explained, he is the Wonderful Counselor. He is a supernatural counselor who will implement supernatural wisdom in discharging his office. He has the wisdom to rule justly.
Where do you need wisdom? Do you face difficult decisions about your children or parents? Do you face problems at work for which you don’t have answers?
The promise of Christmas is that we can go to the Wonderful Counselor and know that he will give us wisdom.
Do you ever feel like David, facing a Goliath with only a sling and a few stones? Can you identify with Gideon, being heavily outnumbered and short on resources? Do you face a situation like Mary, having to trust God for seemingly impossible promises?
Take comfort in the assurance that our Savior is a powerful warrior. He is the irresistible battle champion who will obtain the final victory in the arena of history. He is the Mighty God.
Where do you need God to intervene on your behalf? Do you need him to change the heart of your employer?
God hears those prayers and it is in just such situations of hopelessness and helplessness that his almighty power is born. It is there that God leaves his treasure.
The promise of Christmas is that the Mighty God has the strength that we lack.
What does a good father do? A good father protects his children from those who want to harm them. He provides for their needs and many of their wants. A good father cares, counsels, accepts, loves, challenges, and encourages his children.
Yet with all of their good intentions, earthly fathers come and go. Earthly fathers grow old. Some become ill and die. Others serve in the military and are deployed overseas. Some are killed in battle. Still other fathers abandon their children.
In contrast, our Savior is an Eternal Father. He will never leave or abandon us. There is no end to his protection and provision.
Where do you need a father’s touch in your life? Do you need to crawl up into daddy’s lap and pour out your heart to him? Where do you need your father to step in and tell you that it will be all right?
The promise of Christmas is that the Eternal Father will love and care for his children forever.
As much as we desire peace, we cannot achieve it through our own efforts. Fortunately for us, our Savior is the one who brings in and maintains peace. Not only is he a peacemaker, he is the Prince of Peace.
Where do you need to experience God’s peace? Are there problems and concerns that are troubling you? Are there broken relationships that you would like God to heal and restore?
The promise of Christmas is that the Prince of Peace both makes peace and gives us peace.
More than 2,500 years ago, the prophet Isaiah told of one who would be the hope of mankind, the long awaited Messiah who would establish an eternal kingdom based on justice and righteousness. Isaiah’s important pronouncement told that this one would be a God-man: a child born, referring to his humanity, and a son given, referring to his deity. The four names ascribed to this one give further insight into His character and ministry:
He is the Wonderful Counselor. He is our guide through life, and our advocate before the heavenly Father. He is the one who freely gives wisdom when we ask.
He is the Mighty God. He is the God before whom every knee shall one day bow. He is the one who intervenes and works on our behalf.
He is the Everlasting Father. He is the God of eternity. He is the Father who cares for and meets the needs of his children.
He is the Prince of Peace. He is the one who will bring a true tranquility among all nations. He is the one who brings peace to our troubled hearts. He is the one who heals broken relationships.
As you long for joy and peace during this Christmas season, remember that Jesus Christ is God’s Christmas gift to us. The more intimately we know the “child-Son,” the deeper grows our love and devotion for Him. Worship Him even now and throughout this season as you sing of the joys of Christmas.
This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Baptist Church in Chicopee, MA, on December 22, 2013. It is part of a series on Christmas. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.