Explore the meaning of the famous Bible verse “For Unto Us, a Child is Born” and find out what it means for you today!
There’s a lot I look forward to during Christmas. Festive lights brighten dark winter nights. Carols proclaim the anthem of our faith. Friends and family bring laughter and joy to my home. Gifts litter the floor under the decorated tree. For me, this is a season of peace, hope, and love.
But it’s not like that for everyone.
To many, Christmas brings memories of lost love. It can be a difficult time, with complex emotions and more than a few tears. The allure of expensive gifts can lead to financial anxiety. Family dynamics can be difficult to navigate.
Christmas can be a jolly season, but it can also be a jolly hard one.
When we unwrap the gifts of life, we may find they contain things like worry, fear, loss, and sorrow. We may feel overwhelmed by our circumstances or look back at the year with regret. Even if we embrace this time of year with joy and cheer, it is important that we do not lose sight of what we truly celebrate. Let’s explore what it means to embrace God’s gift of love this Christmas.
For Unto Us A Child Is Born: God’s gift of love
One thing I’ve learned is that, however I feel during this time of year, the foundation of Christmas does not change. We remember and celebrate the deep love that our God has for us. It was his love that brought Him into a world He created to people who had turned away from Him. It was this love that drove Him to provide a way for us to escape our brokenness and find new life.
Thousands of years ago the prophet Isaiah foretold the birth of a child. He said that this child would hold all authority and establish a kingdom of peace, justice, and righteousness. We can read it in Isaiah 9:6-7, which says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace, there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”
For Unto Us a Child Is Born: God with us
Christmas is a time for us to remember and be thankful for the great gift of God’s love. It is visible first in the form of a baby born in humility. He is Immanuel, God with us, who will save us from ourselves and bring us eternal freedom. Theologian John Oswalt says of this text that “the good news is that the God who is with us is a God who wants to turn our darkness into light, our conflict into shalom, our loss into abundance, and our despair into joy.”
To show his love, God took human form and came to us. He does not wait for us to make the first move. Rather, he draws near and shows himself as He is: filled with grace, goodness, mercy, and authority. We, in turn, are then able to respond to his invitation to live in a new way and accept his empowering grace.
Because he came to us, we can embrace this beautiful gift of love.
Recognise His Gift of Love
Throughout the Old Testament, God declared his love for his people. He spoke to them as a kind and loving father speaks to his children. He provided for them, corrected them, and defended them. Yet we do not need to interpret his love for us based on his past actions and words. We need only look to the child he has given. This is the full display of our Creator’s love for us. It is real, it is tangible, and it is recognisable.
Every year we celebrate a holiday that, in the natural world, brings with it a vast array of emotions and experiences. It is not, however, about the lights and the food and the parties and the gifts under the tree. It is not about our regrets and failures. Instead, each year we have an opportunity to recognise once again the tremendous gift of love from our Father as we see Jesus come into our world.
To recognise the Father’s love, we don’t need to look further than the child in a manger. He brings with him the promise of salvation, transformation, restoration, and eternal life. This is a gift offered freely to all of us who are weary and feel the weight of our humanity.Isaiah tells us that the child is called Wonderful Counsellor, because he can be intricately involved in every detail of our lives. He is also called Mighty God, the fullness of divinity in human form. He is the Everlasting Father, who has no beginning and no end. And he is the Prince of Peace, because apart from him, we cannot truly be at peace with God, ourselves, each other, or our world.
That is not someone who is difficult to recognise!
Embrace His gift of love
When we take our eyes off the worldly trappings of this season and recognise Jesus as He is—the great gift of God’s love—we are invited to embrace all he offers us. So many things call out to us and seek our attention, recognition, and affection. They promise to satisfy our souls and free us from the chaos of human life.
Yet only one can truly quench our thirst for salvation.
We do this by drawing near him, who has drawn near us. To embrace Jesus is to surrender all that we are to the one who carries true authority by humbly giving him our worship, adoration, and praise. It is giving him our whole selves, knowing that he does not turn away those who seek him because he already came to seek us.
How can we be confident in this? The great preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, “He who was born at Bethlehem is God, and “God with us.” God—there lies the majesty; “God with us,” there lies the mercy. God—therein is glory; “God with us,” therein is grace. (He) alone might well strike us with terror; but “God with us” inspires us with hope and confidence.”
There’s a lot that I look forward to during Christmas. But one thing I seek above all else is to embrace the wonderful gift of love that God has given in Jesus Christ. I hope that you will join me in seeking him this year!