Christmas is behind us again and a new year is off to a start for each of us. We may not know what the days ahead will hold, but we do know this...we don't have to worry about them because the one who holds the future also holds us in his hands and will walk us through them with all the grace and goodness he provides. As we consider who walks with us through this year, I could not help but turn to a very "traditional" Christmas passage found in Isaiah. It begins with the words, "Hope of all hopes, dream of our dreams, a child is born, sweet-breathed; a son is given to us: a living gift. And even now, with tiny features and dewy hair, He is great. The power of leadership, and the weight of authority, will rest on His shoulders. His name?...."
His name we’ll know in many ways—He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Dear Father everlasting, ever-present never-failing, Master of Wholeness, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 VOICE)
His name we will know in many ways - each suggesting just a little different aspect of his character. Each suggests a slightly different way he is manifest in our life circumstances, as well.
- Wonderful Counselor. We might think of a counselor in terms of the one we might go to when we need to talk things out - that one who gives advice in time of being unsettled or when things are just not at ease in our lives. Think of our Wonderful Counselor as our advocate - the one backs us, defends us, and stands as our chief support in our times of greatest need.
- Mighty God. I like to think of "Mighty God" as our "powerhouse" - he is an indomitable force to be reckoned with and he stands as that "force" on our behalf. With all the hype about the latest Star Wars movie, "The Force" takes on a meaning altogether different than what I mean here, but when you think about a "force", you are thinking of one who stands as all powerful and unable to be resisted.
- Dear Father Everlasting or Everlasting Father. We all understand the meaning of "father", even though some of us may not have had the best father "example" in the world. We can somehow associate the Father as the one who is supposed for provide, protect, and be the "overseer" of those under his care.
- Ever-Present Never-Failing. Two very distinct characteristics of God's watchfulness over our lives. He is ever-present without ever taking his focus off any one of us. We probably have the hardest time thinking that one through because we cannot think without limitations - we are bound by what we know and see. He is not. As a result, he is never failing - his watchfulness and care knows no bounds.
- Master of Wholeness. To those of us who struggle with being a little disjointed, with things in our lives which really don't "fit well", we are constantly looking for something or someone to help us "get whole". It is good to know the one who has control of my life is also the one who not only is "whole" himself, but is the master of wholeness - the one who can make things "fit" in our lives like no one ever would be able to. Wholeness suggests there is no diminution over the course of time - in other words, his actions are to build up and not to tear down!
- Prince of Peace. The one thing which wraps it all up is the ability to bring what is missing in so many of our chaotic lives. His peace is perfect, but most importantly, he is the one who is in a place of being able to "influence" whatever it is which is not allowing us to know peace in our lives. He is the ruler of peace - as such, he pushes back whatever brings a lack of peace and leaves his presence filling that place in our lives.
As we begin our new year, consider who walks with us, guiding more than our steps, but ensuring our safety, making way for our every need, and giving rise to the overwhelming sense of his peaceful presence in the chaos of our lives. Just reminding!