Renewing my Advent tradition roughly five years ago after several years away from the practice, truly infused delight into my holiday preparations. Though a repetitious practice in some ways, each year revealed new aspects for me. At the start of this year’s Advent, beholding the gift of the Messiah became my focus.
Prophecy not only foretells His coming, but it fills us with wonder as we unwrap the exquisite gift of God with us.
Clinging to Emmanuel brought me through many dark seasons; but Holy Spirit invited me into a deeper connection with the blessings of the attributes gifted to me in the Messiah.
My current Bible reading plan includes reading through the Books of Isaiah and Micah along with the Gospel of Luke, throughout the month of December. Though many seasonal favorites greet me there, beholding the gift of the Messiah with fresh spiritual eyes reveals new delights.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.Isaiah 9:6
the birth of the messiah
While the prophet Isaiah speaks of the Messiah’s joy and victory in Isaiah 9:3-5, moving into verse 6, the prophet speaks of the birth of the Messiah. Reminding Israel, the victorious Messiah would be a man; but not only a man, a child, and not only a child, but a Son.
Though in theory, an angel or God without humanity would suffice for a Messiah, in reality neither option qualified the Messiah to be Savior and High Priest: the child must be born.
Understanding for the first time, Isaiah’s unique usage of the Hebrew literary tool of repetition, I saw both Christ’s humanity and deity.
“For unto us a child is born” speaks of His humanity, while “unto us a son is given“, speaks of the gift of the eternal Son of God, the second person of the Trinity.
The marvelous truth of Jesus as the child, marks the starting point of His humanity. As the Eternal Son, He has no beginning and no end, and thus was “given” at a determined point in time.
Beholding the gift of the Messiah as both fully human and yet fully God embraces us with the glorious truth of Father God’s provision of a perfect, infinite Being to offer a perfect, infinite atonement for our sins!
Emmanuel, God with us.
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.Isaiah 7:14
the attributes of the messiah
Inspired by Holy Spirit, Isaiah includes five attributes attached to the fuller meaning of the identity of the Messiah. In keeping with semitic tradition, the names given to each person spoke of their character.
“His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6b)
Another first for me this Advent season, meditating on these powerful traits of the Messiah took my understanding of Emmanuel to a deeper level.
The Messiah is Wonderful. The glory and power of the incarnation coupled with all He has done and continues to do for me overwhelms me with sheer wonder and amazement.
The Messiah is my Counselor. He knows and provides for all my needs. In counsel with the Father and Holy Spirit, He guides my life for my good and God’s ultimate glory.
The Messiah is the Mighty God. “By Him and for Him all things were created.” (Colossians 1:16) As creator God, He is worthy of all my worship and praise.
The Messiah is the Everlasting Father. Jesus, the author of all things as a member of the godhead, He literally possesses eternity. Jesus is “before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17) He is “the author of my eternal salvation”, (Hebrews 5:9) and the “author and finisher of my faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)
The Messiah is the Prince of Peace. Specifically, He is the conduit through which I have peace with God and man.
The gift of the Messiah
Fully beholding the gift of the Messiah enables me to see Him in the daily moments not only of Advent, but each and every day of the year.
Emmanuel offers me His Wonderful power and Presence when all around me appears languishing in ruin, He is my Counselor when I have lost my way and need wisdom, when my strength fails along the hard paths, He is my Mighty God, when this world’s pain, sin, and evil overcome me, He speaks eternity into my heart as my Everlasting Father, and when life’s tempests and satan’s attacks pour fear and turmoil into my heart, my Prince of Peace calms every storm.
Yes, the Messiah came to redeem us from sin and an eternity in hell, but He came also as our Emmanuel: God with us, yea, God united to us.
His coming redeemed us, uniting us with Him, that in every action of our lives we begin, continue, and end in Him.
Perhaps the greatest gift in the Messiah is the union from which flows His comfort, enlightenment, protection, and Presence both now and for all eternity.
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