Day 3: Christmas Counseling

God never gives someone a gift they are not capable of receiving. If he gives us the gift of Christmas, it is because we all have the ability to understand and receive it.
— Pope Francis

Christmas doesn't care who you are.

Christmas comes for the prettiest and the rudest and the kind-hearted and the abusers. Christmas comes for you. For me. For all. 

And when Christmas comes, it tells us that the birth of the Baby King means He is FOR you and WITH you. For you in all your short-comings. For you in your best moments. And with you in the nasty stable of your life. With you when you are singing with the choir of angels.

But before Baby Jesus and Wise Men and Stars and Shepherds and Decorations and Saint Nick and Candy Canes and Reindeer, there was Isaiah.

Isaiah was a prophet. God spoke to him, told him things, whispered words to him to then tell others. I don't envy his job. He had to tell it like it was. And it wasn't pretty.

God's people were a hot mess (nothing new) and God wanted to shepherd His people and He wanted to use Isaiah.

Amongst the many things said by Isaiah was the prediction of what THE King would be like. The One who would come and bring justice and mercy and hope and healing and light to the darkness that is our world.

And God told Isaiah about the day we now call Christmas: For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Wonderful Counselor.

The first of four phenomenal titles given to Jesus.

I am not sure what it says about me, but I have a lot of friends who are professional counselors. And I have sat and talked in their offices, their homes, their breakfast-joints of choice. I have gotten some amazing counseling through a variety of seasons in my 37 years. 

And God is calling the Baby-King a counselor-to-come. But not just the Betty Draper on a couch kind (though, let's be real, I am blabbering to the King all the time). In this context, Isaiah's idea of a counselor was one who sat with kings and advised them.  "In ancient Israel, a counselor was portrayed as a wise king, such as Solomon, giving guidance to his people (1 Kings 4:34Micah 4:9). Isaiah uses this word again in 28:29 to describe the LORD: 'This also comes from the LORD of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom.'" - Charles Swindoll

He can see the lay of the land and offer wisdom, truth and best practice. And He's not just called Any Counselor. Wonderful Counselor is actually translated: Incomprehensible Counselor. 

An Incomprehensible Counselor can see the panoramic picture and where we fit. He has wisdom no one else does, He knows ways no one else could possibly see. He can also help us recover our identity that was lost along the way. The very identity we lost back in Eden.

He came and calls you Daughter. He looks at you, loves you, and calls you Son. He has a good plan for you. One that is for you and with you. Not a hidden one, but one where you get to talk about it with Him; one that He has hand-woven into your heartbeat. 

Who needs some good and wonderful counseling this Christmas season? Anyone need a word, a hope, a path? Me too. And He gives it, when we ask. When we are alone, we are quiet, and we listen. (Got five minutes in your car? So does He.) He gives council when we bend our hearts and humbly say: I need council, Good King. You know the way. I'm listening.

Best part about this Counselor? Always available. Thank God.

King Jesus, You are called the Wonderful Counselor for a reason. You have wisdom for us, You have hope for us, You have words that will wash over our soul and heal hurt. We come to You humbly, asking for wisdom. For the next step. For hope that all is not lost. For healing. For truth. For grace. We are listening. We are shutting all other voices down, and are listening to Your Incomprehensible Counsel. Amen. 

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
— Isaiah 9:6
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?
— Romans 8:31