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Coxy's Christmas Message 2016

To us a son is given

23rd December 2016

More than 700 years before Jesus the Messiah was born, the prophet Isaiah predicted that He would come and told us what He would be like. One of Isaiah's prophecies about Jesus is:

Isaiah 9v6-7
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and for ever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

We call the Second Person of the Holy Trinity "God the Son". That's who Isaiah was talking about when he said "to us a Son is given". The nature of God the Holy Trinity is a bit of a mystery to our feeble human brains, but God the Father sent Jesus - the Son of God - to earth to live with us, and to die for us. Jesus is called "Emmanuel" (Isaaiah 7v14, Matthew 1v23) which means "God with us". That's why we celebrate Christmas.

Isaiah predicted that "the government will be on His shoulders". Jesus came to establish a kingdom, which we call the kingdom of God. That kingdom doesn't have a specific geographical location - it's universal - it's everywhere. Many people refuse to acknowledge its existence, but for us who gladly acknowledge it, it's wonderful. The government of my life is no longer mine - it's His. I no longer make my own decisions - He makes them. And His decisions are much better than mine. I no longer worry about the future, because I know that King Jesus has the future worked out. The government is now on His shoulders - he carries the burden of leadership, of kingship, so I don't have to.

Isaiah says Jesus is the Wonderful Counsellor. he's the best counsellor you'll ever have. He's a great listener. You can talk to Jesus about the same things over and over again. He never looks at His watch. He never tells you the appointment is over, time's up, and the next client is waiting, please come back next week. And all His advice is perfect. He is absolutely wise. He always knows best. He knows what's going to happen in the future, so He knows what's best way for us to go. He loves us more than we love ourselves, and He always has out best interests at heart.

Of course, we don't always like His advice. We can be a bit selfish, and we can want things that are bad for us, and we can fail to understand His wisdom. But that's up to us. He gives us the best counselling, and we can accept it or reject it. But I trust Him, and therefore I hope I'll always accept it.

Jesus is the Mighty God. Well-meaning people tell us that all religions ultimately serve and worship the same God, but they really don't. We Christians acknowledge Jesus as God. Other religions deny that He's God. If Jesus isn't God, then all Christians are deluded. If Jesus is God, than other religions are false. Jesus told us in John 14v6, "No-one comes to the Father except though me". As Acts 4v12, says "Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

And Jesus is mighty. I'm just the pastor of a small church in a Hampshire village, but I've seen God do many miracles. I've driven a car with no petrol. I've prayed for machines that wouldn't work, and they've started. I've prayed for people with injuries and serious illnesses and they've recovered. And, more importantly, I've seen many people's hearts being changed, softened. I've seen angry people become peaceful, I've seen bitter people become forgiving, I've seen lonely people wrapped in the love of the church, I've seen insecure people find confidence and dignity in the love of Jesus. I've seen people turn away from sins and live a good life. I've seen suicidally depressed people get their lives back.

Jesus is the Everlasting Father. That may confuse some of us, because none of us fully understand the relationship between God the Father and God the Son, but in John 10v30, Jesus said "I and the Father are One" and in John 14v10 Jesus said "I am in the Father" and "the Father is in me". Like I said, Christians believe that Jesus is God. Jesus loves me - and you - like the perfect Father. Some of us had great dads and can understand this quite easily. Some of us didn't have great dads, but Jesus comes to be your perfect father, if you'll let Him.

And Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He comes to make peace between us and God, by paying the price for the sin that divides us. He comes to give us peace with ourselves, by dealing with our feelings of guilt and unworthiness, and helping us to know we're loved. He comes to bring peace between Christians, by adopting us into His family and giving us the same Holy Spirit. And He comes to give us peace with those who've hurt us, by inspiring us to forgive them.

Jesus's wonderful kingdom of love and peace continues to grow. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. You and I can know more of His love, more of His peace, more security and dignity and wisdom, we can make more of a difference, helping others and showing them Jesus, as we grow closer to him. And the church across the world continues to grow. And it will go on growing, because the zeal of the Lord almighty will accomplish this. As Zechariah 14v9 promises, "The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name."

We clebrate the King of Kings, born in a stable for you.