Isaiah 9: 6-7  “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.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end….”

This ancient prophecy was fulfilled at the set time, appointed of God, when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was birthed through Mary by the Holy Ghost in a Bethlehem stable.  The rest is history and yet, this same Jesus, lives today in His resurrected, eternal state.  The humanity and divinity of Jesus is unfathomable to our finite brains.  We accept the mystery by faith:  The child born in human flesh in a manger is God incarnate.  “Unto us a Son is given….”  The eternal Son, the everlasting Father…..  God gave His Son to mankind, John 3:16.  The eternal gift that keeps on giving…..indeed!

When does a father become a father?  When he has a son!

The eternal divinity of God is far beyond our comprehension.  God IS, always WAS and always WILL BE.  When we enter into salvation at our second birth, the eternal Son takes up residence in our hearts. What a mystery!  Humanity and deity, resident in us with an eternal divine destiny!   No wonder our hearts swell with the anthems of praise sung through the ages:  “Oh come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord”.

Let this be our focus and song through these troublesome days of lockdown restrictions.

A young man once enquired of a seasoned minister: “How can I ensure my heart never grows cold towards God?”   The minister thought for a moment and then replied, “Keep a thankful heart to the Lord.  Stay thankful in every situation life throws at you”.  This was mature, godly advice founded on scripture.

1 Thessalonians 5:18  “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

We can make such an issue over finding and knowing the will of God for our lives.  Scripture declares it in the simple, yet profound scripture quoted.  God does not require of us to be thankful FOR the circumstance, but IN it.  Herein lies the balance, the key, and yes, the test, the trial of our faith.  I may not like my circumstances, but I can thank God that He is “a very present help”, my constant Guide, Friend, Companion and Fellow Traveller.  When things get tough I need to remind myself that God cannot deny His word.  I make the choice, take up my cross, deny my rebel thoughts and declare:  “All things work together for good to those who love God….” Romans 8:28.   Let God be true in my heart, thoughts and deeds.  Though the path would not be my choice, in surrender and thanksgiving for who God is in my life, brings peace to my heart and joy to my Saviour.  God has a plan much greater than mine that far exceeds my wildest dreams.

Human nature often prefers the safety of routine and conformity.  But have you noticed how the Lord seems to come at an inconvenient time to upset our “little agendas” for the day.  We serve an “inconvenient God”. Do I recognise Him when He comes in the form of another?  He often comes “in disguise”.  After all, He is the God of my circumstances!  God comes and requires of us to learn to be flexible, to see Him in all things…..and choose to keep our stubborn hearts thankful!  When I stay flexible, (which truly is the essence of a surrendered life and will), I receive the reward of experiencing the joy of God.  This joy is independent of my circumstance, but is always found in surrender and is a hallmark of the presence of Jesus in my life.  It comes to a thankful heart.

In this current crisis, governments may order lockdowns, but they cannot lockdown our Lord Jesus.  “His kingdom rules over all”  and though many worldlings may not acknowledge Him this Christmas season, we bow in adoration and praise, secure in the knowledge that the government truly is on HIS  shoulders.

So, fellow travelers, may we experience the true joys of a thankful heart this Christmas, as we celebrate this season of wonder: God’s gift to the world. (John 3:16) May you experience the love of Christ afresh  in your hearts and homes and stay forever grateful.