“We’re in territory we’ve never seen in December.”
“The enormity of this … cannot be overstated. This is a true watershed event.”
“I don’t have enough adjectives in my arsenal to describe how massive this is.”
A senior media analyst was trying to describe the record-breaking turnout for the latest Star Wars movie.
The irony, of course, is that Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiered one week before the world would celebrate a far greater event – more massive and unprecedented than anything the earth had experienced before – or since.
Guided by a star, kings would come bearing gifts for the new-born Prince of Peace. All of heaven and earth would awaken to the coming of the greatest Force in the universe.
The arsenal of adjectives would be nearly depleted as humankind strained to describe the wonder and the joy; the majesty and the glory of the birth of the Messiah, Christ the Lord.
George Frideric Handel, composer of the immortal Messiah, nearly collapsed in his joy-induced fervor.
The enormity of this cannot be overstated.
This was a true watershed event.
Seven-hundred years before Bethlehem, the prophet Isaiah punctuated his condemnation of apostate Israel with a promise amazing in its detailed beauty.
After describing the encroaching anguish and darkness, Isaiah wrote of the advent of a “great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined” (Isaiah 9:2, KJV).
What was this light? What was this promise?
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given …” (9:6, KJV).
A baby would be born to us.
A son would be given to us.
He would be given as a gift to you and me – and to all those who would believe and receive.
The Apostle Paul – reaching for an adjective – called the gift of our Savior “unspeakable” (II Corinthians 9:15, KJV).
It is indescribable – there simply weren’t enough adjectives in Paul’s arsenal to fully express the mystery and profundity of the coming of Messiah.
When the angels of heaven came down to the shepherds that night to make their announcement, they mirrored Isaiah in the intimacy of the gift:
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11, KJV).
“For unto you…”
But not just to the shepherds – Jesus was born to all of us and to each of us.
Christmas is a holiday for families. There is no other time of year when the sense of community – of shared humanity and togetherness – is as great. We cherish those traditions and the love they represent.
At the same time, Christmas is a very intimate and personal celebration. For this child was not only born to the world – he was born to you. This Son has been given to you.
Had you been the only person who ever lived on the earth, Christ Jesus the Lord would have come here for you – such is the depth and breadth and the wonders of God’s love.
This is joy to the world, yes, and the weary world should rejoice and fall on its knees. But it is also a deep and abiding joy for every individual who has trusted him and made him Lord.
Upon the shoulders of this child, upon this Son, says Isaiah, the government shall rest.
At a time when the world is witnessing a widespread crisis of leadership; and in our own nation we despair of finding courage and integrity in our leaders, it is good to remember that Jesus Christ is our ruler and our authority. He reigns supreme over all. He is the King of all kings; he is the Lord of all lords.
“He’ll take over the running of the world” (9:6, The Message).
Of his government, declares the prophet, “there shall be no end” and he will “order it” and he will “establish it with judgment and with justice … forever” (verse 7, KJV).
Truth and righteousness are the twin pillars of his eternal reign.
No term limits.
So while we are properly concerned, we need not panic or distress over the outcome next November.
What child is this who has been given to us?
He is the mighty King. He is over every civil authority on earth.
Isaiah writes that this child shall be called “Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (verse 6, KJV).
The full and uncompromising deity of Jesus Christ was set forth seven centuries before his birth.
In the midst of threats and turmoil and the coming turbulence of an unknown future, we look at this child and we give thanks that he is our Lodestar – the anchor of our faith, the strength of our courage, the comforter of our souls and the hope of our hearts.
On the night he was born, the earth shouted its joy; the sea proclaimed its praise and all living things joined in. The rivers clapped their hands in glee and the hills sang out their songs of joy before the Lord (Psalm 98: 7-9).
And heaven and nature sang.
“O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord”