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Joy to the world: Merry Christmas!

Isaiah 9:3-4, “You shall multiply the nation, you shall increase their gladness; they will be glad in Your presence as with the gladness of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4 For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian.”

In verses 3 and 4 we see the "glorious light" of verses 1-2 personified as a person.  The you" in verses 3 and 4 is the “glorious light” that is going to “increase their gladness.  The word, “gladness” in the original language is the English word, “joy,” so that in verses 1 to 4 there is promise of a glorious light who is going to bring unimaginable joy and the glorious light is a person. 

The glorious light isn’t a force. The glorious light isn’t a religion. The glorious light isn’t a philosophy to learn, but this glorious light promised in Isaiah 9 is a person to be known.

I know it might not be easy to see in Isaiah 9, but these verses are pointing us to a Savior fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  Let make a few observations:

  • The phrase, “multiply the nations” is a reference to God’s promises to Abraham in Genesis 22 when the God of Scripture tells Abraham the “sons of Abraham will be more numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand of the seashore.”When we hear “sons of Abraham” we might think of ethnicity, but the Scriptures teach us, “All who trust in Jesus Christ becomes ‘sons of Abraham.’"

The Apostle Paul says it this way, “6 Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.” - Galatians 3:6-9

  • Also, in verse 3 this glorious light will not only multiply the nation, but their joy will be like that of a great harvest, and a great treasure that is received in battle.  Remember in John 6 when Jesus feeds the 5,000 and people were in awe, but Jesus says, “That isn’t that big of a deal.” Yes, they have been fed, but they are going to get hungry again. And then Jesus says, “If you eat of me you will never be hungry again.” Isaiah 9 is making a promise that the joy Jesus brings in your life is greater than Hopdoddy!
  • Do you remember when Jesus says Matthew 6, “You can store up treasures on earth, but they won’t last.” The car breaks down, the wood rots, the clothes fade, the market drops, and the joy those things bring into our lives is fleeting, but there is a joy, a gladness, promised in Isaiah 9 in Jesus that is eternal, and never fading.
  • And, did you  you notice the treasure or spoil in verse 3 is the result of what soldiers receive at the end of a victorious battle, but in Jesus Christ He goes to battle on our behalf. He lives the perfect life, He lies down His life at the cross, and He conquers death, and we receive all the treasure.

Please take a moment and consider the joy that is made known in the life, person, and work of Jesus Christ.  Please take a moment to consider how our American culture is in full swing of offering joy during the Christmas time of year, but it is all fleeting. 

Almost every commercial is making a promise that your joy will be satisfied in objects like, “If you could only get that car with a bow, if you could only get that ring from Jared’s, if you could only get those Apple Airpod’s so you can finally ride a skateboard and listen to music!”

I am not against Christmas decorations. Our house has exploded with Christmas decorations, but our culture is offering a “feeling of joy” that is momentary at best. At some point the decorations will come down, but in Jesus Christ there is joy that surpasses all understanding.

Listen to me the joy Jesus has to offer doesn’t bare fruit in your life through intellectual assent, or religious habits, but by seeing His glory in Isaiah 9, turning from your sin, and submitting your life to Jesus so that He becomes Lord.

Therefore, during the Christmas season let me encourage you to ask for the Holy Spirit to help you give all of your life to Jesus.  Surrender your life to Jesus so that He becomes leader of your life, and taste of the eternal joy He has to offer.