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The Third Day of Advent – December 5

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us…
Isaiah 9:6a

Did you ever wonder what God was thinking in giving Himself to us as a little child? He who is eternal and infinite, thought it fit to struggle His way through a birth canal, gasp for His first earthly breath, and cry. He who formed His mother stooped to make Himself dependent on her for His very life. Almighty God made Himself fragile. What was God thinking to so humble Himself to begin life just as we do!

It needs to be noted in today’s scripture that the prophet Isaiah pushes the word “child” to the very front of the sentence. He does it for emphasis, wanting the world to understand it is a little child who is born for us. Impressively, God defeats enemies, not with larger and more powerful armies, but with a little child. God’s answer for the world’s darkness comes in the birth of a child. God would remind us yet again, “God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength” (1 Corinthians 1:25).

God’s weapon in our battle today against evil forces of darkness is this little child born for us. We might have expected God to raise up a mighty warrior like David, but no, it is this little child! “The power of God is so far superior to the Assyrians and all the big shots of this world that he can defeat them by coming as a mere child. His answer to the bullies swaggering through history is not to become an even bigger bully. His answer is Jesus.” (Ray Ortlund, Isaiah: God Saves Sinners)

This child born “for us”, for our good, for our benefit, is God’s grace: unmerited, undeserved, unearned. We have done nothing to deserve Him, nothing to deserve what God does for us in this little child. Martin Luther, in a Christmas Day sermon in 1531, emphasized the very personal meaning of today’s scripture: “We are always to add, ‘For us.’ For whom was he conceived and born? For whom did he suffer and die? For us, for us, for us! Always add ‘us’!”

This child born for us is the child whom Isaiah announced earlier through prophetic vision: “Look, the virgin is with child and shall bear a son, and shall

call him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). This child born for us is God with us. “In Mary’s child, dwells almighty God. Pause here for a moment! Do not speak, do not analyze further. Grow still before this Word. God has become a child! Here the child is poor like us, miserable and helpless like us, a human being of flesh and blood like us, our brother.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Mystery of Holy Night)

German priest and poet Angelus Silesius cautioned worshippers at Christmas: “Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born/If He’s not born in you/ Your soul is still forlorn.” This child comes for us, to be born in us, to make us children of God (John 1:12; Romans 8:16-17) and partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Jesus is God with us, born for us, wanting to live out His very life in us. He comes not to be admired as a precious baby in a manger, but because He wants to be born in us. The light of Jesus pierces our darkness.


Beautiful God, there is none like You. We praise you that in dark times you shine the light of your love and power upon us. It is easy for us to become distracted and so caught up in news of the world that we lose sight of You and Your presence with us. Shine the light of Jesus, the Child born for us, into the world’s dark corners through our words, actions, and reactions. For Jesus’ sake we pray. Amen.

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