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Unto YOU a child … as we find in Scripture

December 20, 2011

… as we find in Scripture

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and the government shall be upon His shoulders, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.     Isaiah 9:6 

For a long time I didn’t realize that there are two perspectives of Christmas presented in Isaiah and we have to read and think careful or we will miss the whole point. In fact, we will miss the point of Christmas.

Let me explain (I’m so thankful to my friend, Michael Morales, who helped me see this.)  The words, “A child is born, a son is given” give us two perspectives of the same event, two views of Christmas – one from this earth and one from Heaven.

From the human viewpoint, a child was born that night; yet from heaven’s viewpoint, a Son was given. There is an eternity of difference between those two perspectives!

A child being born is not an event of terribly great note. It happens every day and every night in every country and nation of the world. Children are born. Most of the time, we pay very little attention to those births. If “a child is born” was the totality of this heavenly announcement, it would hardly be a blip on the screen. If the announcement ends there; if the earthly perspective is all that we hear, the proclamation holds little impact and little hope.

At best, all it would mean would be that we would have:

  •  another counselor with limited wisdom, or
  • another self-driven leader desiring worship and obedience, or
  • another finite and fallible father, or
  • another political voice marketing “peace on earth, good will to men.”

What if the news stopped there? A child is born – another life born to face empty hopes and endure broken promises.”A child is born” all by itself holds little hope.  If the earthly perspective of this announcement was all that was given, we would have more to lose than a winter holiday. It would be, as C.S. Lewis wrote – “always winter and never Christmas.”

BUT – that isn’t all of the news.

Heaven’s perspective finishes the story and it is breathtaking!Heaven’s perspective is this: As a child is born – at the same time   –   A SON IS GIVEN!

This new-born child is God’s Son given – given to demonstrate God’s love for us.  The Son was given – a gift to us because “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”   (John 3:16)

This birth was the Incarnation – God wrapped in humanity. This birth was God “with us” – Emmanuel.  This birth demonstrated God’s desire to come to us to rescue and redeem us.

This “Son given” was God Himself reaching down to gather us to Himself because, try as we might, we can never reach up far enough to reach into a relationship with the Sovereign Lord of the Universe. The chasm between us and God is too great, the sin is too horrific, the guilt is too undeniable, the penalty is too inescapable.

What a significant ornament!

So the initiating and everlasting love of the Father set His eternal plan in motion. The Son was given “unto us” to be our substitute, as we read in Isaiah 53:4-6:

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;

yet we esteemed him stricken,

smitten by God, and afflicted.

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.

All we like sheep have gone astray;

we have turned every one to his own way;

and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Jesus is the Christmas gift given to pay the penalty for our sin, to take our judgment, to be our substitute so that God’s righteous requirements would be satisfied – completely and finally.  We bring the “gift” of our sin and He brought the gift of forgiveness from sin – and the anticipation of heaven. What a marvelous, undeserved exchange!

The heavenly perspective, “a Son is given” brings us the whole picture of Christmas. Because of this gift, the Son given, we can enjoy a place in God’s family gatherings, a seat at the family celebrations, a portion of the family inheritance.

In the words of Gladys Herdman:

“Hey! Hey! Unto YOU a child is born! Unto YOU a Son is given!”

If you don’t know who Gladys Herdman is, you will want to read Monday’s post. The posts this week will explore this wonderful verse from Isaiah. Stop by again.

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