Forget about the Christmas season for a moment. Go back nearly 2700 years to the year 700 B.C.
At that time there was a nation in great trouble. This nation had passed its Golden Age of prosperity and was in decline. They faced the constant threat of foreign invasion, and their leaders refused to look to God for help.
Worst of all, the people in this nation had turned away from God’s Word in their time of need.
Instead they sought help from spirits and wizards. The result of their decision was spiritual darkness. It always is.
This was the situation that the prophet Isaiah faced in Israel. But God gave Isaiah a message of hope. There would be light in exchange for darkness and victory instead of invasion. Why? The reason is stated in Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Think about how surprising that would have sounded to Israel. That country had serious international conflict with a menacing world power, and God is telling them the reason for hope is a child to be born? God’s ways are not our ways, and this child is not just any child.
When each of our four daughters were born, my wife and I decided on names to give them — Lillian, Eva, Anna, and Pearl.
We chose the names because we liked the names. But we did not really know what the babies would be like. No parent does.
Isaiah, on the other hand, did know what this Child would be like 700 years prior to His birth.
Isaiah describes the unique character of Jesus Christ. He is a human child born to a mother, and yet at the same time “the mighty God.”
His actions and abilities would be “wonderful” — beyond any human capability. He is prepared for leadership on this earth as a “counselor” with the wisdom needed to create a plan, and as the “Everlasting Father” with compassion for His people.
His reign will produce peace on this earth.
When Isaiah wrote this prophecy, he did not separate the first coming from the second coming of Jesus Christ.
We live in the period of time after “a son is given” and before “the government shall be upon his shoulder.”
But as we wait for the second coming, we can receive the spiritual light Jesus Christ promised.
Jesus said, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me may not abide in the darkness” (John 12:46).
Because of Jesus’ unique character described by Isaiah, He gives hope beyond Christmas.