This advent WakeUpCall is one of a four part series focussing on the theme of “God with us” and will be based on Isaiah 9:6-7, 11:1-3 and Matthew 1:23
If you have ever watched a city marathon, you will have observed thousands of people fighting their own personal battles against giving up. Mile after mile they will find their bodies asking them to stop. Of course, by the time the race starts, many will have already given up by abandoning training and deciding not to run at all, and many, many more by not even trying to enter the race.
Work is not a one-off event; it is more like a marathon. It takes a long, long time, and requires regular effort and constant support. (Note to clergy: it is not enough to do the odd sermon or series on work. Church life needs to be configured to support working people on a permanent basis) – (Note to non-clergy – clergy need support in their work as well!).
The temptation to give up often has to remain just that – a temptation; in reality, most people can’t afford to give up. You can stop earning but not eating, drinking, heating and lighting.
What does Immanuel mean when you want to give up? The given Son is described as exercising increasing government and peace – which will not end. He will keep going and keep you going. The source of energy is not your utility supplier but the Son of God. Not only does the increase just keep increasing, but there rests upon him a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.
Knowledge equips you with skills, training, techniques and abilities to keep running your race. The fear of the Lord – which is also the gateway to wisdom – empowers you to choose a good cause.
These are not just words; they are descriptions for sure but they relate to a living person. Immanuel means a person with you – God himself – your trainer and coach, your water and food, your cheering supporter, your guide and map, your strength and energy. This is real. Christmas is not just an historic occasion, it is a constant reality. God didn’t just visit; he is with us, with you – at work – right now. Immanuel will not give up because God never runs out.
6 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 Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and for ever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord — 3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears;
23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” —which means, “God with us.
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