As a musician, it may seem cliche to admit that music is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season. From Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer to the timeless classic hymn Silent Night, there is a song for everyone and every situation.
In college, I was submerged in the classical world and each December the music department would perform Handel’s famous oratorio, Messiah.
Handel's Messiah has been described by the early-music scholar Richard Luckett as "a commentary on Jesus Christ's Nativity, Passion, Resurrection and Ascension", beginning with God's promises as spoken by the prophets and ending with Christ's glorification in heaven.
For Unto Us, a Child is Born is the song that always gets me into the Christmas spirit. The text is taken from Isaiah 9:6. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
This song repeats the phrase “unto a son is given,” highlighting that the Infant Jesus is a true gift to us. We can only scratch the surface of knowing and understanding the gifts the Lord provides. God humbled himself to become one of us, even to the point of becoming a baby born in the most modest circumstances in Bethlehem. God does this not only out of love for us and the desire to save us but also to show us how we are to live.
The great mystery of revelation is indeed that Jesus Christ did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself and became as we are, one with us, in sharing our joys and pains. Henry J. M. Nouwen
The second half of the verse from Isaiah illuminates a few of the titles the Lord processes: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. The Lord comes to each of us intimately and uniquely each Christmas! He caters to and fulfills the role we need by making Himself accessible through His many titles.
Dear reader, my prayer for you this Christmas is that your heart is ready to freely receive the gifts that the Infant Jesus has for you. Which title of Jesus does the Son of God desire to give you? Remember that the same God who sets galaxies in motion, the same God who knows each person better than we know ourselves, is the same God whose smiling face looks up at us from the manger!
May you have a Merry and Blessed Christmas!