Unto us a Child is Born

Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Advent

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 Counsellor, 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 with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6–7)

From the eight century BC, Isaiah speaks forth a great prophecy of the hope to come. The kingdom of Judah is under great stress, neighbouring nations are laying siege, and in the midst of all this turmoil the great prophet speaks of a future. A future which, for those who heard him, would sound entirely counter to their expectations.

As the House of David, that great monarchy, totters Isaiah speaks of a child to be born. A child who will sit on the throne of that mightiest of Jewish kings. That is extraordinary enough, but the passage itself makes a yet greater claim. This child, this son will be called “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”. Here is a bold claim indeed! To call your little boy “Wonderful Counsellor” might result in some teasing in the playground. To call him “Mighty God” is bound to raise a few more eyebrows!

Yet there it is: Mighty God. This would explain why, as Isaiah continues, there will be no end to the increase of this child’s reign. That is how his reign will be established “from this time forth and forevermore”. Here is a child indeed.

There is still more. When Isaiah finished these few sentences he notes not simply that God will do this, but that the “zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this”. This action is something for which God is zealous. Such is his desire to have you reconciled to him.

Francis and the Crib

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7) - On Christmas Eve 1223, the villagers of Greccio were invited to a service by Francis of Assisi. He had settled in the area with some of his followers, and had planned something for the locals. As the villagers climbed up the snaking paths, they came to one of the many caves which dotted the hills and discovered what Francis had planned.


Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14) - Here we have one who will be born of a virgin, a sign which “the Lord himself” will give. This son will bear the name Immanuel, which means ‘God with us’. A rich prophecy indeed.

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