(ROCKWALL, TX — Dec. 19, 2016) For unto us a child is born… The words proclaim a good-news message set to music that much of the Western world either welcomes or tolerates each December.
This season especially, Christmas carols and concertos may serve to dispel some of the gloom and strife that plagued our nation in the Year of Our Lord 2016. Post-election weariness can give way to a better theme: Emmanuel—God is with us (Matthew 1:23).
Handel’s Messiah—the ultimate Christmas (and Easter) composition—contains hopeful promises from the book of Isaiah, who prophesied of a coming King whose reign would never end. God spoke through Isaiah to a nation weary of sin, strife, and disappointing rulers, which sounds a lot like today’s world.
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 9:6-7*).
The fulfillment of that passage of Scripture arrived more than 700 years later, after the angel Gabriel appeared to a virgin to announce God’s favor: And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son… JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest… and of his kingdom there shall be no end (Luke 1:31-32).
But Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). Instead, he sits high above all nations (Psalm 113:4) at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1), who has put all things under his feet (Hebrews 2:8). As King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15) Christ reigns over the earth (Psalm 47:7-8).
Yet, knowing all of this, heaven can seem far away and unresponsive to global calamities and to serious issues closer to home. People of faith, like unbelievers, can become too anxious about frustrating circumstances—such as this year’s presidential campaign, when we needed to remember to trust in the Name that will never appear on a ballot.
The New Year will bring changes in our nation and new concerns around the globe. But peace on earth is available to those with whom God is pleased (Luke 2:14), those whose hope awaits in heaven (Colossians 1:5), where all sorrows and sighing will flee away (Isaiah 35:10).
*Italicized verses are from the King James Version of the Bible.
By Blue Ribbon News faith columnist Patti Richter of Heath.
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