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Pastor’s Note

Pastor’s Note

What Child Is This?

There is some mystery and excitement around the birth of any baby. Boy or Girl? What will the parents name the child? How will the child’s life go as he grows up? Whom will the child look like and act like? It is such a special day—and that new life is so special—that we celebrate the birthday every year for perhaps even 100 years.

But we are still celebrating today the birth of one child over 2,000 years ago. In fact, in a variety of unique ways, his birth will be celebrated around the world once again this year. In many ways it’s fair to say that his birth and life altered the course of world history—as both those who follow him and those who don’t have acknowledged.

In light of these realities, the question asked by the traditional carol seems quite appropriate: “What Child Is This?” What did the parents name the child? More significantly, what is it that makes this child so special? That’s what we want to take some time to ask during our sermon series this December. We want to look at the identity of Jesus and see what God’s Word proclaims about this unique child.

In particular, we’ll use Isaiah’s prophecy as our launching point—where Isaiah famously writes of the promised child to come, “To us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). We’ll look at each of those four titles and ask what they tell us about the child born that first Christmas and how we see those titles expressed in the life of Jesus as he grows up.

I’m really excited about this time together because I love Christmas in general, because I’ve always loved Handel’s Messiah and having these names of Jesus ring in my ears, and particularly because I’m not sure there’s any more important question for us to ask and answer than the question of the identity of Jesus—“What Child Is This?”. For thousands of years, individuals and world religions have offered different answers to that question, and it is one well worth our time to consider.

If there is another question more important than “Who is Jesus?”, however, it may be “Who is Jesus to me?”. I don’t mean by that question that each of us gets to define Jesus in our own terms and make him whoever we would like him to be; that would be more ridiculous than each of us getting to have our own name for any other baby! We don’t unilaterally decide his identity and make him whatever we want him to be.

We do, however, have to decide how we personally respond to who Jesus is. That’s what I mean by the question “Who is Jesus to me?”. It’s the difference between merely identifying someone as a great chef and actually tasting and savoring the food he has cooked. It’s the difference between merely identifying Jesus as the Prince of Peace and actually experiencing him as one who brings peace in your heart and life.

I hope you’ll join us for this exciting study of the identity of the baby in the manger. More than that, I hope you’ll consider as we go what the identity of Jesus means in your own life. There are no more important questions to answer.