The season of the year when Christians everywhere celebrate the birth of Christ is upon us. For the past two days I’ve been thinking a lot about the prophet Isaiah’s description of the coming Messiah,
“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder,
And His name will be called Wonderful,
Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
I memorized this verse in Sunday School when I was a child. I can remember reciting it exactly as it is written, with a pause after Wonderful because there’s a comma there. Modern translations of the Bible omit this comma and use one title, Wonderful Counselor. For some reason, though, I still want to separate the two because…well…I just can’t help it…I like to think of Jesus as just plain Wonderful.
I looked this word up in the Blue Letter Bible to get the exact Hebrew definition and it means simply this: extraordinary, hard to understand; or something admirable, a miracle of God. Another source claimed a deeper meaning: incomprehensible!
To compare this definition I checked my online dictionary and found the word to mean: inspiring delight, pleasure, or admiration; extremely good, marvelous.
I’ll be the first to admit, I throw this word around a lot. I’m just expressive that way. Most of my friends have heard me say at one time or another, “Oh my goodness, it was just wo-o-O-o-nderful!” But, truthfully, I can’t remember the last time I told someone, “I think Jesus is just W-o-O-o-NDERFUL!” I think it. I feel it in my heart, but I don’t proclaim it like I should. I’m going to change that. (I think I feel a bit of drama coming on…)
How does the song go? “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” I think Andy Williams made it popular back in the sixties, but I don’t think the song speaks at all of the birth of our Savior. It speaks of the merriment that accompanies the Christmas season, the parties, the food, friends and family. All these things are wonderful, yes, but somehow I think this word has been greatly downgraded in comparison with Isaiah’s description of Jesus.
Jesus is extraordinary. His heart is sometimes difficult to imitate. He’s a marvel of God. I wonder at His radical teaching and His remarkable testimony. I am blown away by His marvelous mercy and His matchless grace. I celebrate His abundant goodness and His abounding love. I am delighted in His exceptional forgiveness and His excellent kindness.
Jesus is incomprehensible. His ways are sometimes hard to understand. He’s a miracle of God. I wonder at His holy conception and His humble birth. I am blown away by His compassionate healing and His sympathetic helping. I celebrate His triumphant resurrection and His jubilant ascension. I am delighted in His powerful presence and His perfect guidance.
This is the Jesus I call Wonderful and I want to remember the wonder of Him in all that I do this Christmas season.
For every party I may attend I’ll remember Jesus because He’s all about celebration.
For every person I may entertain I’ll remember Jesus because He’s all about relationship.
For every patch I may decorate in my home I’ll remember Jesus because He’s all about beauty.
For every place I may shop I’ll remember Jesus because He’s all about giving good gifts.
For every pie I may bake I’ll remember Jesus because He’s all about feeding the hungry.
And then I’ll remember that there’s a pause after Wonderful because the name of Jesus is the name above all names and wonderful isn’t just a word, it’s who He is and that’s something to celebrate.