Born in 1880, Helen Keller caught an illness before the age of two years, leaving her blind and deaf. Her life had barely begun. And suddenly, all prospects for leading a normal life vanished.
As a girl she was completely isolated, uncivilized… until the teacher, Anne Sullivan, came to her home.
Yet, the entire time she was very much aware of God’s existence. In later years she wrote to a friend:
“I’ve always known about God, even before I had words or names… before I could call Him by His name, I knew He was there. In my darkness and solitary life, I knew I was not alone… that Someone was with me. And I felt His love.”
If God does not exist, if God is not personal, she would have felt Nothing. No one.
But God does exist. His presence in this world is not only real—it is the reality of His presence that brought this world into being. And because God wants us to know Him, He came at Christmas…
Isaiah 9:6 – For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given…
I’m sure Isaiah wondered what that meant. Who is this Child, this Son?
We now know this was no ordinary Child, not your average little Jewish boy. (Did Mary ever scold her other children? If only you would behave more like your big brother! Poor kids—having an older sibling who was perfect! Poor mom—did she expect her other children to be so compliant?)
No baby had ever been born or would ever be born like the Baby spoken of in this prophecy.
…and the government shall be upon His shoulder…
Jesus would literally carry the weight of the world on His shoulders. The verse speaks of majesty, power, authority. This Child, this Son would be a King of kings (all other kings bow to Him, but He bows to no one, other than His Father)… He would be a Ruler like no other.
…and His name shall be called Wonderful…
Full of wonder, awesome, beyond belief, beyond our comprehension.
Such as the time when Jesus stopped the storm on the Sea of Galilee… the disciples whispered among themselves, wondering, What kind of man is this? Who is He? Where did He come from?
No explanation other than God.
They had never met anyone like Him before… had never witnessed anything like the miracles Jesus did. Walking on water… healing cripples… curing leprosy… opening blind eyes… raising the dead…
But do we realize He also has the power to calm our storms? To walk with you and me… to heal our hurts… to cure what disables us… to breathe life into dead men walking.
… His name shall be called Counselor… for those times in life when we don’t know.
All-knowing, wise, insightful. The One with all of life’s answers… every solution to my every problem.
The human spirit sags beneath the burden of emptiness, under the weight of heartache, frustration, regret, hopelessness…
Whatever I struggle with, whatever your need is—Jesus came to be our Counselor.
All we have to do is ask. And then be willing to wait and watch for the answer to come.
… His name shall be called The Mighty God…
This Child’s name is God? This Baby born would be The Mighty God? Yes!
Jesus, The Mighty God who fully possesses the divine attributes of Splendor and Authority; all the characteristics of a Hero, a Warrior, a Deliverer.
This One who has never been defeated (although Satan has tried unsuccessfully for centuries to squash God’s plans and crush God’s people);
This Mighty God who was born at Christmas, triumphs victoriously over sin and death.
He came… He is here… He will help us triumph over the spiritual, emotional, moral and psychological plagues of humanity.
… His name shall be called The Everlasting Father…
Daddy. Papa. Abba. Maybe you’ve known the warmth and security of a father’s love. Or maybe you haven’t.
But Jesus came so you and I can know the everlasting, infinite love of the God who wants so much to be our Father.
… His name shall be called The Prince of Peace.
Ironic—the world wants peace (we read it in Christmas cards, see it scribbled in sand, on walls). But the world wants peace without the Prince of peace.
God’s Kingdom is one of Perpetual Peace, a Kingdom where Righteousness reigns. No conflict, no pride, no hatred, war, envy, or drama.
Perpetual—never ending, permanent, abiding, enduring, endless, timeless, ageless,
deathless, immortal, forever. This Kingdom will exist during the 1,000-year reign of Christ and will last through eternity… the Kingdom His children, His saints will live in.
Isaiah 9:6 – Unto US a Child is born, unto US a Son is given… Offered to the Jews first; then to the Gentiles.
The God who is personal. No other God has ever gone to such great lengths or done so much to show us the way to Him… to provide reconciliation with Him.
Isaiah 9:2 – The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
Helen Keller also said:
“I believe that God is in me as the sun is in the color and fragrance of a flower—the Light in my darkness, the Voice in my silence.”
John 1:1-14 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness… the true light, which lights every man that comes into the world… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (referring to the Old Testament prophecy in Isaiah).
Matthew 1:21-23 – Jesus was the name given to the Baby born on Christmas.
Jesus: same name as Joshua, Elijah and Isaiah… meaning Jehovah saves or the Lord is salvation… and Immanuel… meaning God with us (referring to the Old Testament prophecy in Jeremiah).
Us… That word again… God. With. Us.
So, what does this mean for us as women today, in the 21st century?
As daughters, wives, moms, singles, aunts, grandmothers, neighbors, co-workers, business owners, church members, service organization members…
Immanuel. This is the God who is near. Not a God far away… not in the distance. This God is not unfeeling or unconcerned or unwilling to be bothered with our needs and desires.
Jesus. God in the flesh, who walked and talked, ate and slept, laughed and cried, loved and cared… This Son experienced what we experience: hunger, pain, rejection, misunderstanding, weariness, and more.
He knew why He came, allowing nothing to stop Him from finishing what He had started: The plan of buying us back (redemption) from Satan’s grasp, after the Fall in the Garden of Eden.
In our everyday tasks do we live like God is really with us? Beside us? Interested in us?
Michael Card sings,
And so the Light became alive and manna became Man.
Eternity stepped into time so we could understand.
Chris August sings,
Jesus, Savior… Our salvation has a name.
Marc Martel, with the group Downhere, sings,
How many kings step down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
And how many gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that is torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Helpless Child and Obedient Son, now the Loving Father…
Meek as a Lamb, but Mighty as a Lion…
Final Sacrifice, Only Savior…
Servant, yet Ruler…
Killed, but also Conqueror…
For God to confine Himself to flesh and bone and time and space, to weariness and pain,
subjecting Himself to be falsely accused, suffering a torturous death… demonstrates how much He loves us.
God took the initiative in loving us, in seeking us, in redeeming us.
By leaving His throne to come to where we are,
He made the way for us to someday leave our earthly homes and go to where He is.
With Christmas we’re not only offered the gift of abundant and eternal life,
we’re offered hope—the hope of Salvation, the hope that this isn’t all there is.
Because of Christmas, God is with us.