Christmas is often a time to reflect on life, loved ones, and lessons learned in the journey of the previous year. It’s in the midst of this season of reflection that my thoughts often return to the challenges and struggles that have surrounded our recent holidays. It was Christmas week five years ago when I received my last chemo treatment. The following Christmas is when I heard those glorious words I had fought so hard to hear: Cancer Free. The next year would bring a season of celebrating all God had done for us. But that was followed by two Christmases of caring for my dear mother-in-law as she also battled cancer.
Each year brings its own challenges, but without challenges there can be no growth. If life was all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows we would never find the opportunity to grow beyond or own comforts or learn to rely on God’s promises for comfort, strength, peace, and miraculous power.
After all, isn’t that the whole message behind the manger?
The Hebrew word for “wonderful” in this text literally means ‘miraculous,’ because that is what Christ is. He is the Miraculous Counselor. When we reach the end of our knowledge, the end of our abilities—when doctors and specialists say they don’t know what else to do—Christ is just getting started. There is no end to His knowledge or His wisdom. And He has promised to lead us into all understanding:
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5)
God is the One whose power is unmatched. He’s the hero—the One who shows up when everything has fallen apart. When we’ve made a mess of things, or life has left us shaken, and we don’t even know how to begin putting things back together, God steps in to make a miracle out of our mess. He not only has the wisdom to know what to do, He has the power to bring it about. He is bigger than our circumstances and greater than any obstacle we may face.
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)
Christ loves us as the Father loves us—with an everlasting love. His love will not run out or wear down. He is not impatient with us. He does not grow weary of our presence, our mistakes, or our requests. We can come to Him again, and again, and again until we receive the answer. He never grows tired of us, and His love never gives up.
What great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1, NIV).
Prince of Peace
He is our peace. He does not simply give peace; He is peace. That is how we can have peace in the midst of trial, in the midst of conflict, in the midst of pain. It’s not something that God gives us that we can lose, misplace, or can be taken away. It’s His very presence that gives us peace because He Is Peace. And since He has promised to never leave us, we can always have that peace no matter what we face.
For He himself is our peace (Ephesians 2:14).
As Christians, we often toss out the obligatory reminder of the “true Reason for the season” at Christmastime. But we should be careful to also consider the why of Christ’s coming. That Baby, born in a manger, came to save the world, yes. But He also came to be our miraculous Counselor, our hero God, our loving Father, and our peace…even in the midst of the storm.