When I turn the calendar page from November to December, I turn on the Christmas Music. I love it all from the traditional carols to the contemporary songs. There is one, however, that stands out from all the rest. When I hear it, the goosebumps start and tears fill my eyes. It can, quite literally, bring me to my knees.
It is from Handel’s “Messiah” – “For Unto Us a Child Is Born.” Written in 1741, this portion of Handel’s masterpiece was taken from Isaiah 9:6:
“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.”
Aside from the breathtaking beauty of the music and the awesome message contained in the lyrics, there is one little word that stops me in my tracks. “US.” This child was given to us – to you and to me.
Picture the humble shepherds, the very lowest of the low in the days when Jesus was born, tending their sheep on the darkened hillside outside Bethlehem. It was a night like any other until an angel suddenly burst through the heavens and delivered a message none of them would ever forget:
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
“…unto YOU…” this child was for them and for every seeking heart that hungers for something more. They didn’t waste a moment. They hurried to the place where the baby was, and when they had seen Him they told everyone about Him.
We are privileged to have “seen” so much more than those lowly shepherds. They saw only in part. We know the baby’s story, and have been given the gift in its entirety. We have only to respond as the shepherds did – to believe and accept. He is no longer a baby. We call Him, wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
He is all of those things, and He has been given to us. It is the miracle of Christmas – the breathtaking glimpse of a love far greater than we have ever known. It is mine; it is yours. It comes wrapped in grace, and you have only to accept it.