(Final in series)
By Brenda Black
“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 Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
The Wonderful Counselor points the way to a Mighty God that will never fail and into the arms of our Everlasting Father who watches over us forever. But wait! There's more – so much more! The Babe in the manger came to a world at war to reign as the Prince of Peace!
To better grasp peace, we must consider the anguish it replaces. Go back in chapter 9 of Isaiah and see the contrasts. Darkness versus light (vs. 2); gladness versus burden (vs. 3-4); a yoke verses a staff (s. 4).
Christmas time and light go hand in hand. Strings of glowing bulbs line house gutters as well as businesses, trees, bushes, wood or iron lawn ornaments, porch spindles and even poodles with reindeer antlers and blinking noses. We illuminate stars, attempting to imitate the heavens. Twinkling spectacles transform into laser light shows complete with orchestrated, techno tunes. We light candles and line our sidewalks with luminaries to brighten dark winter nights and present a warm welcome to evening carolers. Light makes plain objects magical and long nights tolerable. The Prince of Peace came as the Light of the World to lead us out of spiritual darkness.
“'The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.' From that time on Jesus began to preach, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.'” (Matthew 4:16-17)
Gladness and burden are equal companions at Christmas. We are happy to give and long to express our love for family and friends through thoughtful trinkets and treasures. Parties sound delightful, but crowd an already over-extended schedule. The burden to bear the expense and find the time to shop among the masses and attend every celebration can become overwhelming. Keep in mind, burdens don't sneak up on you and knock you flat! Burdens accumulate. At first they seem bearable. Then the longer we carry them, the more we add to them, the more cumbersome they become until we can tolerate it no more. Good things, and bad things, like worries, sorrow, fear, financial hardship, and a hundred more weights from the world pile up in our minds and on our shoulders. If we don't lay them down daily, they will waylay us ultimately! The Prince of Peace came to bear our load and show us a simple path to glory.
“But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful...Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” (Psalm 68:4,19)
In the final weeks of the calendar year, it begins. The tidal wave of choking pressure to have the latest, greatest gadget or give the best deal! It's easy to feel swept up by the commercialism of Christmas, hammered by loud, annoying advertisements harping at us to buy, buy, buy or nag, nag, nag until you get, get get! It's really quite disgusting if you think about it. And it is suffocating. This urge to splurge on things unnecessary is like a heavy yoke clamped over your shoulders, forcing you to surrender and follow the herd mentality. The alternative is the calm, quiet nudge of a loving Savior who reaches out with his long, smooth, curved staff and pulls you closer. The same Good Shepherd will also get in the yoke with you and help bear the load. With Him it is safe and meaningful; there in the manger and in the arms of the Messiah. The Prince of Peace came to set us free.
“'Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.'” (Mt. 11:28-30)
“And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
May God bless you this Christmas with His presence in all of its magnificent forms.
2011 copyright by The Word's Out - Brenda Black