What We Need For Christmas Summary


Merry Christmas everyone!

Thank you for reading this week about what we NEED for Christmas.

Remember that whatever mess we find ourselves and the world in, Christmas is a reminder that God has not given up on us and on the world.  Isaiah 9:6, a prophecy from around 700 BC describes the Christ we celebrate each Christmas:

“And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

To meet our deepest, most significant needs, this Christ is provided for us.
         As Wonderful Counselor, He is our source of wisdom; (Tuesday’s post)
         As Mighty God, He will empower us to live as He did; (Wednesday)
         As Everlasting Father, He invites us with unconditional love into His family; (Thursday)
         As Prince of Peace, He buys peace between us and Him, and between us and others. (Friday)

“Four gifts for Christmas. They are the greatest gifts that anybody can give or we can have, and they are all in Jesus. They are for us. They are for you, if you will have them.” – James Montgomery Boice

Celebrate these gifts today!

In closing here is a video of the Royal Choral Society performing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah, for He, the Christ of Christmas, shall reign forever and ever:

What We Need For Christmas #5: A Prince of Peace


What do we NEED for Christmas?

We may not feel we deserve the gifts in Christ I’ve described this week.  We may know for sure that we don’t, and so we don’t accept them.  As James Boice wrote: “We are also conscious of having done wrong things. We need to be forgiven. We need somebody to deal with our guilt”.  Which is why there needs to be a fourth gift.  Our need for peace and unity is met by the Christ of Christmas, as described in Isaiah 9:6 as our Prince of Peace, who Boice says “highlights the gifts of peace both between ourselves and God and internally.”

What kind of peace?  Most of the New Testament of the Bible was written in Greek, and the word “peace” often comes from a Greek word meaning “to join.”  Peace does not just mean we aren’t fighting; it means that we are joined in a beneficial relationship.  This peace came at a steep cost, but He bore it all.

Jesus was born to live the perfect life so that we won’t have to earn His approval, and He was destined to die as payment so we may have peace.  He did not have to rescue His people.  He could have left this world without a Savior, but as Prince of Peace, He instead took the initiative of joining us to Himself and to each other.  Our failures are not ignored, but our Prince of Peace willingly takes these failures upon Himself.  This is what He was born in the famous manger of Christmas to do.

Consider the story of Good Friday: Hours passed while Christ was on the cross.  He was mocked as helpless and unable to save Himself, while knowing that at any moment, He could just save Himself.  In those hours, our Prince of Peace considered all the sins of His people and decided: “Worth it”.  The all-powerful actively chose to embrace powerlessness in the face of hours of torture to save His people.  If God wanted to change His mind about you, He’s had plenty of opportunity before now.  He will not turn His back on you now, or ever, if you have accepted Him.

By bearing the cost for us, our Prince of Peace can accept us into His eternal family.  He can empower us to live lives like His, of love and sacrifice for others, giving meaning to our lives.  He can open our minds to His wisdom, providing the ability to make better decisions.  It won’t happen instantly, but it can begin today.  He was born on Christmas to make sure this all happened.

This Christmas Eve, we have the gift of Jesus as Prince of Peace, who meets one of our deepest needs:
“To be forgiven and at peace! Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He has made peace for us by his death.” (Boice)

He gives us peace with God, within ourselves, and toward others, granting us forgiveness and overcoming our guilt.  He asks us to also take the initiative and bring His peace to others, forgiving them as He forgave us.

This is the fourth gift of Christ in Christmas, and it makes possible all of the other gifts.  Have you accepted it?

What We Need For Christmas #4: An Everlasting Father


What do we NEED for Christmas?

Over the last two days, I’ve described Jesus as Wonderful Counselor, guiding us into the choices that are best for us, and as Mighty God, empowering us to follow through on those choices, which make us able to love Him and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

A third need we have, according to James Boice is: “We are also individuals, but we sense that we are not meant to be alone. We want to belong somewhere. We need satisfying relationships.”  In Isaiah 9:6, Jesus, the Christ of Christmas, is described as our Everlasting Father, inviting all into His family as daughters and sons.

You may not like everyone in your family.  Getting together for Christmas might come with mixed feelings and apprehension.  You may not like “church” people you’ve met.  But as close to man’s beginning as you can get (Genesis chapter 1), God created the family.  His intention from the start was to build His family, and it needed people in it for Him to love.  He wanted to give them the wisdom and power to become loving reflections of His own character.

The gift of Christ as Eternal Father means that He will accept us – as we are – into His family if we will receive Him.  In John’s gospel, the apostle wrote: “To all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)

By believing in Him, we can be adopted as sons and daughters, giving us a sense of belonging and fellowship, and removing our fear of rejection.  He will accept us fully and eternally, nurturing and working with us to grow into the people He wants us to be.  He knows everything you’ve done and will do, and everything you are and everything you will be.

The gift of Jesus as Everlasting Father meets one of our deepest needs:
“To belong to someone! Jesus answers this need, because he is our Everlasting Father. Through him we are brought into God’s family.”

To be loved as you have never been before.

This is the third gift of Christ in Christmas.

What We Need for Christmas #3: Our Mighty God


What do we NEED for Christmas?

Yesterday was about the need for wisdom, but “We also have wills, and because we have wills, we want to achieve something. We want our lives to make a difference. To do that we need power.”[1]  This is a second need of us all, according to James Montgomery Boice.  In Isaiah 9:6, Jesus, the Christ of Christmas, is described as our Mighty God, who Boice says “will empower us for life’s tasks” – those tasks He points us to in His wisdom.

The word Mighty probably calls to mind miraculous events, military victory, or superhero-like powers.  But ultimately, His greatest objectives for us – to love Him and to love our neighbor – are what He uses His might to accomplish.  When our Wonderful Counselor gives wisdom to make a choice in life, He actually wants us to act on that choice because He knows how it will turn out – for our ultimate good – but what if we don’t agree with the choice, or don’t have the willpower to make it?

God, unlike Lucy in the Peanuts comics, will not tell us to kick the football, then pull it away at the last second, leaving us on our back.  To those who trust Him, He will provide the ability to make a loving difference in the world.  As Mighty God, He puts His own resources and power behind His recommended wisdom to produce the desired effect of loving, godly living.

Put another way: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,” as written in 2 Peter 1:3.  He does not empower us to do just anything, or to do whatever we decide; He will empower us to “life and godliness.”  In wisdom, He knows this is what is ultimately worthwhile, and His power creates a new desire and a new influence in us, molding our wills that want to make a difference but may not know how.  His power also works in others to provide what we need, or to put in our path someone who needs us.

The gift of Jesus as Mighty God meets one of our deepest needs:
“To achieve something worthwhile! Jesus is the Mighty God who enables us to do that. We accomplish worthwhile things through his power.” (Boice)

Do you want to achieve worthwhile things this Christmas and in 2022?  Our Mighty God wants to enable us to love Him and love others.  Seek the wisdom of Christ and become empowered by Him to love as you have never loved before.

This is the second gift of Christ in Christmas.


[1] From “May 10.” James Montgomery Boice and Marion Clark. Come to the Waters: Daily Bible Devotions for Spiritual Refreshment.  (2017).

What We Need For Christmas #2: A Wonderful Counselor


According to James Montgomery Boice (see last post if you missed it), if you asked people to honestly describe their needs, they might describe one as: “We have minds. So we have a need to know things rightly, to understand. We need wisdom.”  In Isaiah 9:6, Jesus, the Christ of Christmas, is described as our Wonderful Counselor, who meets our need for wisdom.

But what is wisdom?  Wisdom is about taking the right action, not about being book smart, or accumulating facts.  You don’t need to be brilliant to have wisdom.  Wisdom looks forward.  It is proactive and specific to you.  Nobody else’s situation is your situation, and nobody else has the same history, relationships, abilities, and resources. Your path is your own.

Why do we need wisdom?  Because our inner conscience is not one, clear voice with the right answer.  It is a jumble of influences and desires, which I’ve described as a multi-voiced “Moral GPS.” How do you even choose from among your own wants?  Everyone is limited by time and resources.  Also, what if your wants conflict with each other?  “I love junk food, but I want to be healthy.”  Also, how do you decide what is “good” to do?  Who decides what is “harmful”?  What if someone else’s desires harm you?  Can you tell them their desires are wrong, or even disagree on what “harm” is, in a world where everyone just lives by their own messy conscience?[1]

We are never truly free.  Absolute freedom is not good, or even possible, and therefore we need a reliable filter and that is what wisdom is.  Wisdom enables us to choose the best possible path from among the many choices before us.  This is especially tricky as multiple paths may look “true” or “best” to us, and most paths have ripple effects we can’t possibly anticipate.  In our world information is more readily available than ever before, but many people just seem more overwhelmed by it all.

Only someone who knows us perfectly, who knows every possible consequence of our choices on us and on others, and who loves us with our best interests in mind is qualified to be our Wonderful Counselor and worthy of our trust.  Others can provide incomplete guidance – parents, teachers, ministers, writers, philosophers – but each of these also needs its own filter.

In the gift of Jesus as Wonderful Counselor we can satisfy one of our deepest needs: “To know the truth! Jesus Christ is the truth, and he is for us a Wonderful Counselor.” (Boice)

As God, He has no gaps in his knowledge or biases and therefore His words to us are not an inadequate abstraction or wishful thinking.  He alone is perfectly trustworthy.  He does not want to scold or punish you, but to guide you in perfect wisdom that only He can provide.  He does not magically tell you everywhere to go, holding up signs, but desires a relationship.  To walk with you and guide you to life eternal. He wants us to invite Him into our lives, and He is Wonderful.

This is the first gift of Christ in Christmas.


[1] Keller, Timothy.  Making Sense of God (2016).  This paragraph draws from Chapter 5.

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