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.
What’s in a name? Some will argue, absolutely everything. Names are very important to us human beings; and names are very revealing too. Some of us name our children after those we love; others after those we admire or after those we honor. There are believers, for instance, who will name their children after biblical characters because of certain attributes in those biblical figures. Names reveal something unique about the bearer of the name. Names may also reveal the parents’ hopes and aspirations for the child. In Isaiah 9:6, God gives his son the name “Wonderful Counselor”. This is especially significant because the Almighty God himself does the naming and the first name he assigns is “Wonderful Counselor”.
These are confusing times. We live in a world ridden with ambiguities and contradictions, a world that has blurred lines. Of this world Isaiah says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter (Isaiah 5:20).” In times like this we need a counselor. Not just any counselor, for I believe we have entered that time that Timothy describes thus, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3)”. In times like these, we need a wonderful counselor who is not merely concerned about political correctness but rather one that will provide clarity and direction for life regardless of the consequences.
This is the kind of counselor that Isaiah prophesied about. A counselor that is filled with God’s wonder, one that is capable of leading humanity into all truth (John 16:13). As we prepare to celebrate Christmas yet again we have competing counselors urging us to want more, spend more, and indulge more in order to make this season wonderful. The Wonderful Counselor is here to remind us that the season is already wonderful, not because of the things we will get on Christmas Day but because Jesus has already given us the most wonderful gift of all, eternal life. This counselor is here to remind us that the same God who brought such a wondrous story from a humble manger, is able to bring wondrous outcomes from the humble situations of our lives. He is able to transform us from ordinary humans into heavenly beings.
Today we can seek his counsel concerning all the confusing messages and questions of our time, and we can trust his counsel knowing that his wisdom is both “wonder-full” and infinite.
Dear Father, your name is above every other name. We invite your presence to lead us and guide us through the Christmas season. Remind us of the wonder you have accorded us that we might be called, Children of the Most High God. Give us the wisdom to be humble listeners in this noisy time of the year; and show us how to honor you with our decisions we make about Christmas. Amen.