Advent: the God-child
Acts 13: 26
“Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent.”
It is to us! Wow! What an incredible revelation when you know that the Saviour was sent for you. Since my early childhood I remember preachers declaring that if I was the only person in the world Jesus would have come and died for me. A bit dramatic and a touch of fantasy but true nonetheless.
When I read this verse this morning then these words just leapt from the page. “It is to us!” I am overwhelmed by these 4 words. They speak volumes of the Christmas story…
700 years before the event Isaiah prophesies “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” (9:6)
700 years later and angel Gabriel confirms to the shepherds: “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)
A few years later (!) and in the summer of 1741 a composer who only 4 years previously had suffered a stroke which made it impossible for him to play a musical instrument or even conduct, had come to the end of himself. Paralysed in his right arm and he being a right handed man, with blurred vision, badly in debt, the man was suffering depression.
Prior to the summer he had come across a libretto (the text written with the intention it be used in an opera). This libretto was entirely composed of Bible verses. The man at his lowest ebb that he had ever been decided he would make one last effort. He would write an oratorio (a large musical work for an orchestra and singers).
This musical piece was going to be the turning point of his life.
His music is today known all around the world, especially at Christmas.
Set almost central to part one of the work, is the Chorus:
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.
His assistant heard him say whilst writing, “I did think I saw heaven open, and saw the very face of God”.
I am of course speaking of George Frideric Handel.
This suffering and in debt, depressed man saw heaven open!
That’s what happens when we understand For to us a child is born. It is to Isaiah. It is to the Shepherds. It is to the world. It is to Handel. It is to us.
So I sit here overwhelmed.by these 4 words, ‘it is to us’; ‘it is to me’. It doesn’t matter how bad it gets, the God-child has come for me. He has stooped down into the mud and mire of my humanity, carnality, hopelessness and loneliness. If He can grow from a humble, vulnerable baby to be able to carry governments on His shoulders then I too can rise from any position I find myself in. I follow this God-child into my destiny.
To you a child is born. Let this truth change you today.