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The Twelfth Day of Advent – December 14

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Are you curious that a child born for us is called “Everlasting Father”? Or that a baby born into time transcends time so as to be “Everlasting…”? Such language might lead us to wonder if Isaiah’s heavenly visions of God’s glory have confused him about the Trinity. In calling a “son” “Everlasting Father”, is Isaiah mistaking God the Son for God the Father? He is not!

We unlock the wondrous mystery of Isaiah’s words remembering that in the ancient Hebrew culture, the term “father” represented the person who is protector and provider (Deuteronomy 32:6; Psalm 103:13; Job 29:16; Isaiah 22:21; 63:16; 64:8). Thus, Isaiah’s vision of the coming Messiah as “Everlasting Father” means that Messiah Jesus is “the tender, faithful, and wise trainer, guardian, and provider for His people even in eternity.” (Karl Fredreich Keil, Fanz Delitzsch, Commentary on Isaiah)

Earthly fathers die and too soon leave us, but Jesus is our “Everlasting Father”, taking us with Him even into eternity. This divine Child who bends so low to be born for us is not bound to time or date. A nanosecond is no different to Him than eons; billions of light years pass before Him like seconds. He does not count time as we count time, but in the eternal now takes in all of eternity past and all of eternity future. “Thus, the one who will arrive later is one who has been here from the beginning of time and more!” (Walter Kaiser, The Messiah in the Old Testament) John’s Gospel reveals that Isaiah’s lofty vision of God on the throne (Isaiah 6:1-3) is the Lord Jesus (John 12:39-41).

Having loved us before the creation (Ephesians 1:4), the Creator made Himself a creature, floated in amniotic fluid, struggled through a birth canal, and startled at the first light in a barnyard stable. He did this to join Himself to us so that we might be everlastingly joined to Him. Christians worship the Babe wrapped in bands of cloth as He is God without beginning or end, infinite and eternal.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, while locked in a Nazi prison cell, tells of his experience of Jesus as “Everlasting Father”: “Born within time, he brings eternity with him to earth; as the Son of God he brings to us all the love of the Father in heaven. Go there, seek and find the heavenly Father in the manger, the one who here has become even your own dear father.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Mystery of Holy Night)

Recently, my wife Rita and I visited the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, that reliable tradition says was built over the very cave where Jesus was born. The entrance to the church is fittingly called the Door of Humility; any visitor must bow low to pass through the small four-foot doorway to see where the “King of the ages” (1 Timothy 1:17) was laid in a manger. Who would not bend low and worship this Child born for us, “the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13), “the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8)! And it is this Child who is “the same yesterday and today and forever” who assures us, “And remember, I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20)

So, we too seek and worship Jesus as our “Everlasting Father,” born into time to bring eternity with Him. “As the light descendeth from the realms of endless day, that the pow’rs of hell may vanish as the darkness clears away.” (From hymn, “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence) The Jesus Light shines in our darkness.


O God of Mystery, our Everlasting Father, we who are but a particle of Your creation want to praise You. You who are without beginning and ending, stooped to enter the bounds of time and circumstance. Help us ponder the meaning of our few days on the journey to eternity. Create in us hearts more and more like Jesus. Do not let any part of us be left in darkness. Father, we plead no merit in asking, but ask in the name of Your Son. Amen.

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