Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. Since most of my friends know this, they either feed my passion or tease me about it. Either way, I relish the four weeks of Advent as a time of joyful expectation as I count down the days until we celebrate the Savior’s birth once again.
One friend fed my passion last week by sending me an Advent calendar. Remember those? Paper windows hiding candy or toy treats? This one isn’t a paper calendar – it’s software for my computer. But the creativity behind each number contributes to a story that will culminate in a magical Christmas scene. Technology may change, but the result still points me to the Christ-child.
Or perhaps you celebrate the season with an advent wreath, lighting one candle each week. This first week of Advent, the candle we light is called the prophet candle. It signifies waiting…but waiting for what?
Not what. Who. From the first prophecy in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15) to the prophets of the Old Testament to Simeon waiting in the temple courts (Luke 2:25), God’s people waited for a Savior.
What would that Savior be like? Isaiah, one of Israel’s prophets, described Him using four names. Four descriptive terms that speak of Immanuel, God With Us. Isaiah 9:6 tells us:
“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.”
Wonderful Counselor. Wonderful. Counselor.
As I think about this first name, I’m convicted that I use the word wonderful far too often, and rarely in the context it deserves. Wonderful…something that stirs a sense of wonder and amazement. And yet, I find myself using wonderful to describe a good shopping trip or a day in which nothing went wrong. Really? That’s what passes for wonderful? Of course not!
The other half of this name is Counselor. The Savior would be a counselor. One who would lead His people with wisdom and discernment. One whose plans for His people are perfect and wise, making Him worthy of our trust.
As we enter this beautiful season and think about this first name Isaiah used to describe the Savior, let’s dwell on the joy that comes from knowing that the birth we will be celebrating is not just the birth of a baby, but the birth of our Savior, the Wonderful Counselor.
Let the countdown begin!