For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be on his shoulders,
and his name shall be called
Prince of Peace.
It’s a verse that is all over Christmas cards. You have probably heard it more times than you can count if you have spent time in church or around Christian people.
When something is heard over and over again it can turn into background noise. I forget or gloss over the AWE-SOMENESS (this may not be an actual word) of what happened at the nativity.
God took on human flesh.
He was born to a virgin Jewish girl.
Mary was given a Son and we were given this same son.
This advent I found a gem of a book: Luther at the Manger: Christmas Sermons on Isaiah 9:6 Translated by Nathaniel Biebert. Luther at the Manger on Amazon. I found it on a friends Facebook wall, thank Kirsten! The book divides five of Luther’s Christmas sermons by sermon and also into smaller chucks that could be used as a concise devotional resource during the days of Advent.
In the second sermon Luther speaks on Isaiah 9:6 and the ‘for us’ that is boldly presented in the passage.
“This is the song the holy prophet sings about this birth ‘To us a child is born, a son is given to us, whose government is upon his shoulders.’ Yesterday you heard that we should concern ourselves with the child, because this child and Son is ours. We preach this so that we may get a good understanding of those articles in the Creed, ‘conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary’ so’ that we also add ‘for us’ to those words. ‘Conceived by the Holy Spirit’-for us. Born of the virgin Mary.’ For whom? For us. ‘Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.’ For whom? For us. In this way the entire Christ will remain ours.”
Next time I am reciting these words I hope this comes to mind:
Conceived by the Holy Spirit….FOR US
Born of the Virgin Mary….FOR US
Suffered under Pontius Pilate…FOR US
Was crucified…FOR US
and was buried…FOR US
on the third day he rose again from the dead…FOR US
he ascended into heaven…FOR US
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty…FOR US