“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 with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.”
This common Christmastime passage was written hundreds of years before the birth it foretold. While there are riches here to meditate on—the hope of Christ’s peace and power, justice and righteousness—there is also great comfort in pondering its timing. Consider our faithful God, who made this promise and kept it: “When the fullness of time had come, [he] sent forth his Son … to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:4–5). As we look back at God’s faithfulness to keep his promises, it enables us to look forward in hope. The one who didn’t spare his own Son will graciously give us everything we need (Rom. 8:31).
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Peace and hope are hijacked at Christmas, morphing into elusive concepts found beside crackling fires with steaming cups of hot cocoa in hand. Don’t mistake me—I love Christmas ambiance as much as the next girl, but how much more precious are these momentary glimpses of peace and hope when we recognize the ultimate reality to which they point? Christ, the Prince of Peace, came to earth to make peace between God and man. And that peace is the only source of hope that won’t ultimately leave us ashamed. Even as we rejoice in Christmas gifts and goodies, we look beyond these earthly joys to the true happiness that awaits. We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Whether it’s the frenetic pace of the season, the expectation pile-up, or the pressure surrounding family gatherings, gift-giving, and end-of-year deadlines, this month that’s meant to be merry and bright is often weighty and wearying. But that’s the point, really. The weary world can rejoice: To a people weighed down by their efforts, inabilities, sin, and shame, this gentle and lowly Savior comes, offering a yoke that is easy and light. May you find your rest in him this Christmas.
If you’d like to spend more time meditating on Scripture this month, download the free Core Christianity Christmas devotional with 25 readings leading up to Christmas.