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"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." (NASB)
Susan loves the Christmas season and during this time of year I relinquish any pretence of control in our household. While we all pretend that I’m in charge the rest of the year, there is no doubt that she is in charge during this season. I’ve learned to defer to her on most things that relate to our celebration of Christmas. She usually puts up our Christmas tree on the Friday following Thanksgiving and will not all us to take it down before New Year’s Day. These dates are carved in stone. She begins her Christmas shopping on December 26th each year, because, after all, the cards and decorations are half-price then and throughout the year she picks up a gift here and a gift there. Did I mention that she loves Christmas?
Slowly gifts begin to appear throughout the elongated time our tree is up and before long, it is filled with gifts from friends and relatives. The Christmas drama doesn’t leave me with a sense of anticipation like it did when I was a child, but it still makes me wonder what lies beneath the surface of those smartly wrapped gifts. It is with that sense of anticipation of a child on Christmas Eve that we approach this morning’s topic.
Just a moment ago, we lit the Prophesy candle. Just as we have to wait for Christmas morning, those who first heard Isaiah’s prophesy had to wait for its fulfillment. This holiday season we will mark the passage of time with the aid of the advent candle, and examining the significance of each week. This week with the prophesy candle, the following weeks with the Bethlehem, shepherd, angel and the Christ candles. The prophesy candle reminds us that generations of people waited for the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy. Their wait, of course, was much longer and more painful than ours. The purpose of this candle in the Advent calendar is more than drawing attention to the wait, it is to remind us that the Incarnation was not a divine afterthought–God intended to become man and redeem the world with His precious blood from before time. Rev. 13:8 refers to Jesus as “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” (NIV)
Isaiah says that the child “will be born to us.” With that phrase, he affirms the humanity of Jesus. But he says more than just that–he also writes, “a son will be given to us.” The addition of the second phrase clarifies the first. Jesus was born of a woman–He was born to us, but His birth was of divine origin–He was given to us.
Long before a baby cried in a manger in Bethlehem, the prophet said that this would be a unique child. A human child, yes, but a divine child also.
Paul explained it this way in Philip. 2:6-8. “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Before Jesus “emptied Himself” at the Incarnation, Isaiah said he would do it.
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