When it comes to Christmas, some of us may come to the end of the holiday and wonder if we’ve missed something. For all the talk about joy, love, hope and peace, we find ourselves marked by feelings of sadness and emptiness.
This may occur because we’ve been expecting what some might call “commercial Christmas” to deliver. You know, the Christmas that’s pushed by the malls and the advertisements and the TV shows. Think about it: the root word for “commercial” is “commerce.” In the realm of secular Christmas, buying and selling is what its all about.
But, by and large, commercial Christmas and Christian Christmas have very little in common. Commercial Christmas often falls short. The Christian concept of Christmas always comes through.
Maybe we’re just looking for Christmas in the wrong place.
One of the better known Christmas prophecies is Isaiah 9:6, which reads:
For a child will be born for us,
a son will be given to us,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
He will be named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
The first part of the verse is pretty easy to understand. It speaks about how the Messiah will come as an infant and how He will serve as Lord, Savior and King.
What I find interesting is the different descriptions of Jesus found in the last half of the verse; four portraits of the character qualities of the Messiah. When these attributes are understood and applied, we get to experience Christmas as it was intended. Here are a few thoughts on each of the four descriptions:
When Jesus speaks, His words are always worth listening to! And beyond that, they are always worth applying to our lives. We live in a world where people are lost, misdirected and confused. We are often guilty of making foolish, self-centered decisions. But the counsel Jesus offers will always lead us to life. The quickest way to clear up spiritual confusion is to listen to and obey Jesus. The clarity will come in like a flood.
Jesus was not only human, He was also divine. And time after time he proved it! He proved it when He transformed water into wine. And when he calmed the waves. And when he healed the sick and gave sight to the blind. Not only is Jesus a wonderful counselor, he provides us the power to obey his wise instruction. What a promise this was! The idea that the mighty God of the universe would want to share his power with us that we might become the kind of person He created us to be.
The person who puts their trust in Christ is immediately adopted into God’s family. And God’s family is an eternal family. For those who are fortunate enough, we might have our earthly fathers for some 50 or 60 years. Many people lose their fathers at an earlier age. But Jesus serves as an eternal father who will never leave or forsake us. This name of Jesus reminds us that there is life beyond the grave. No wonder “hope” is a word that is often associated with Christmas!
Prince of Peace
Jesus offers those who trust in him a “peace that goes beyond human understanding.” (Philippians 4:6-7) Through Christ, we are able to gain peace with God where there once was separation and hostility. Many people are afraid of God because they think He is mad at them and wants to punish them. Yet, one of the most common commands of scripture is “Fear not!” We are called to be free of worry or fear because can bring peace and tranquility to our hearts – even in the turbulent world in which we live.
Commercial Christmas or Christian Christmas?
Which will it be? Perhaps by continually pursuing commercially-driven Christmases, you’ve failed to come up with the results only a Christ-focused Christmas can offer. This year I urge you to release the urge to find meaning and purpose in commerce. Instead, reach out to pursue the very creator and source of life: Jesus.
Do you know the wise insights that come from the wonderful counselor?
Have you experienced the power of the mighty God?
Do you rest in the hope of eternity supplied by an eternal father?
Does your heart know the type of peace on Jesus can offer?
If so, you know Christmas.
If not, the invitation to fully experience Christmas anxiously awaits your response.