Psalm of Praise: Psalms 95:1-3
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.
Bible Reading: Isaiah 9:2,6-7
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
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 Counsellor, 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 birth of a child brings all sorts of hopes and expectations to a his or her parents, hopes and expectations they may have to shoulder into the future. In western cultures parents might hope to support their child into a successful career, while in third-world countries parents might hope that their child will be able to support them in their old age.
Some hopes and expectations can be positive and life-giving, others can become a burden that weighs us down and bring a sense of failure and rejection. I wonder what hopes and expectations you have been brought up with. Can you thank God for the ones that have been life-giving and ask him to help you find freedom from the ones that are life-draining?
In his prophesy around 600 years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah tells us that ‘To us a child is born, to us a son is given’. I am struck by the personal nature of this prophecy. It is to us that a child is born, not to one particular couple, it is to us that a son is given; Jesus came as a gift for all of us. He came as a gift for you and for me.
This child came to us to shine a great light into the darkness of life and in so doing to reveal to us the Mighty God of the Trinity. As Everlasting Father he reveals the Father-heart of God to seek out the lost and pour out his love. As Wonderful Counsellor he reveals the Holy Spirit who comforts us in the darkness and leads us out into the light. As Prince of Peace he reveals to us the Son who brings us peace with God and peace with each other.
When he came, this child was born carrying the hopes and expectations of the world; the weight of government was on his shoulders. This was a weight that he could carry, but it was a weight that he would carry to his death, and it was a weight that he would rise above in the victory of resurrection.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you were born for all of us
and that you fulfilled your Father’s plans for your life on earth. Give me the grace to fulfil your plans for my life.