Central to the message of Christmas is an announcement of joy- great joy for all the people. However, in a season when joy should be known and celebrated, so many people experience just the opposite: Christmas stress, depression, and the heavy weight of life. Any ounce of joy can quickly get squashed in the harsh reality of the everyday. Humanity needs a lasting joy that comes from an untainted, outside source.
Amidst the darkness of the human story, the Christ child is born in Bethlehem but definitely not as any ordinary Jewish baby. Hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, God spoke through the prophet Isaiah to reveal the true identity of the Coming Child, the Messiah. Through his names, we learn his true identity, and we uncover the source of indestructible joy. He is the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. After spending much of 2015 talking about our name and identity, we come this Advent to re-discover His names which stand as bedrock to the eternal and indestructible joy that Jesus has come to bring. This Advent, may our joy be full.