If I were asked to describe my best friend I wonder how many adjectives I would string together? Seems nowadays we (as a society) have a hard time stringing together an adjective and a noun. Anything more involved than he’s a “nice guy”, or “considerate mother”, or “damned fool” becomes rather extraordinary by contemporary standards.
For unto you a son is born
Unto you a child is given,
the government shall be upon his shoulders,
his name shall be called
Prince of Peace
When I first started writing this post I took a very different tangent than I settled on finally. There seem so many people today who deny having faith but the deniers have no place in my life so I hit the delete button and started all over.
Coming to us from a very different time and place the poetry of the Old Testament speaks of promises made long before the discovery of bits & bytes, from a world without grocery stores, and a time when rights were viewed very differently than they are today. But I find great solace their continuity and message.
This passage from the prophet Isaiah does not use the world Savior. For that matter, the message of Christmas is not, per se, the message of Salvation. It is a message of hope; a message of better things to come; a message reconciliation — for when the prophet received the words the Jewish people were in dispersion.
The Bible — neither the New or Old testament — does not speak to the mechanics of inspiration. It’s enough that the Apostle Peter said, “For prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” As a writer I know something of inspiration. Oh, not the sort that moved the Isaiah of the Old Testament or the Apostle John of the New, but there have been times when words I didn’t know how to understand came when most needed. So, while I don’t understand the mechanics I have lived long enough to be certain of the reality of inspiration.
Isaiah also said that God was a god who hides himself (Isaiah 45:15) and if you look around the world today you have to admit the reality of Isaiah’s words so long ago. Were you to do percentages on those who actually live their lives as if God exists and Jesus is their Savior you would not find as many on the plus side as one might hope. But the same God whom Isaiah said hides himself, Jesus said reveals himself unto babes and little children (Matthew 11:25 – “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.” Perhaps that’s partly why Christmas has always been more about Children than adults, even if Christmas was never something Jesus spoke about or instituted. It just seems fitting that it ends up that the one time during the year when people talk most about Jesus should happen to be more about giving than receiving, more about joy than sorrow, more about peace than duty.
I rarely use more than a word or two to describe people. I love that Isaiah seems to have an entire library of words with which to describe the coming King, the babe in a manger, father-to-be of all. There is no rationale to my belief. Faith is not about having all the “i’s” dotted and all the “t’s” crossed. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. Faith is the evidence of things unseen. Faith is stepping out into thin air when you don’t know whether there’s anything beneath your feet or not.
As we have aged our ‘celebrations’ have changed. I don’t go as crazy about presents or decorations as once I did. I’d like to think that the changes have happened because I’m more in touch with what my celebrations mean than in how they look. The form still exists but meaning has replaced form in importance.
Whatever you are doing today, I hope you take some time to think about the son given to us to be our Savior. Jesus — if nothing else — is about personal acceptance. He is about recognizing one’s need and accepting the only solution offered for one’s predicament. He comes knocking and waits for the door to our heart to be opened — freely, honestly, sincerely. The choice is ours; there is no compulsion; he doesn’t stand by like a petulant child pouting if we choose not to respond to his offer, his invitation.
It doesn’t matter to me whether those who came to honor Jesus were three kings, or what their status might have been, or when they showed up. Details like those are but parts of a long story about love and loss and reconciliation. Those who came to honor him, a child born in humble surroundings would become what no one at his birth would ever have expected. That’s a pretty amazing promise; it’s a hope with entertaining. I hope you entertain him too — in your heart and in your life.
Thanks for stopping by today. It’s a holiday and you have other things to be doing and people to be talking to. Go — enjoy them — and we can talk again tomorrow. I’ll be here. How about you?