One of my favorite Christmas traditions is opening gifts on Christmas Eve as a family. I enjoy seeing paper fill the room, laughter, and teasing as we take turns opening presents; it is such a sweet time. I love the anticipation of opening gifts to see if you get what you want or what your family thinks you need. My love language is “gifts,” so the Christmas season is extra fun for me. I absolutely love gifts, and it’s one of my favorite parts of Christmas. I love receiving gifts, but I get such joy giving gifts. In the Christmas narrative, we see the wise men bringing gifts for the new King; but the joy in the story is that God gave us four perfect gifts wrapped up as Jesus.
But, have you ever received a gift that you didn’t want but needed, and it ended up being the best gift? Isaiah 9:6-7 tells us about the gifts God gave us in Jesus. These four gifts were not what Israel wanted, but what humanity needed. Israel was looking for a warrior king who would usher in the Jewish Kingdom. Yet, God’s plan was more significant and different. His gift of a Savior is what we needed!
“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 Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace, there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:6-7a,NIV).
God gave us the gift of a Wonderful Counselor in Jesus. He is our Wise Counselor and wants to be our Advice-Giver. The Old Testament provides us with a picture of a wise counselor as a prophet. Kings had prophets who spoke wisdom and truth from the Lord to them in all seasons. Jesus came as our ultimate Prophet and Counselor. Wisdom is personal and relational, and we can find that in Jesus. Jesus, as the Wonderful Counselor, is such a perfect gift. Have you ever struggled with discerning wisdom or decisions? Jesus wants you to lean in to your relationship with Him and seek His advice.
Then, there is the gift of Jesus as Mighty God! God gave us the gift of knowing Him as the Warrior God. Emmanuel, Jesus, is our Defender and our Protector. God sent Jesus to fight our battles and be our Mighty Defender. I don’t know about you, but there are so many times in life where I need our Mighty God to step in and champion me. What an incredible gift! The God of creation wants to be our Strong and Mighty Fortress, our Hero! When you think the presents could not get any better, He shows up as our Everlasting Father. To me, this is one of the sweetest gifts God gave us. He allowed us the opportunity to be our Father. For so many of us, there is a need to redeem the name “father.” God sent His Son to demonstrate that intimacy with our Heavenly Father was attainable and trustworthy. Emmanuel is our Everlasting Father who never leaves, never forsakes, always pursues, and always loves. God ever hears us and is dependable. He gathers us under His wings and gives us unconditional love. Jesus, as our Everlasting Father, is one of my favorite gifts God gave to humanity.
The last of the four names is Prince of Peace! The world is full of brokenness and strife—brokenness from sin that needs redemption and restoration to a peaceful relationship. Christ came to give us peace that surpasses all understanding. The Hebrew word for “peace” is “Shalom,” which means the deep abiding spiritual harmony brought about by an individual’s restoration with God. Jesus came to bring that type of peace—a restorative peace to the world and to you and me. Our Prince of Peace gives us a peace that allows us to trust Him and know that you are His.
How amazing is it that God knew that we needed wise counsel, a warrior God who would lead and fight for us, a devoted and unconditional Father, and a Saving Prince who ushers in peace.
Jesus came to make all things new and usher in the Kingdom. The world wanted a king to bring the Kingdom, but instead, we needed a Savior to usher in His Kingdom. I am not sure what season of life you are in—if you need a wise counselor or a defender or are pursuing an unconditional love or if you need saving and peace. But, I want to gently remind you that God gave us all these gifts in Jesus. He gave us Emmanuel, God with us, Jesus. And He is the perfect gift; Jesus is all that we need and want! Merry Christmas, and I hope you receive joy during this advent from the ideal gift.
Sarah Farley is the Southeast Student Mobilizer Associate with the International Mission Board. She is an Enneagram 7 that loves students, coffee, burgers, SEC football, and connecting with people.