Feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ
Scripture: Isaiah 7:1-17 (NKJV)
1 Now it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to make war against it, but could not prevail against it. 2 And it was told to the house of David, saying, “Syria’s forces are deployed in Ephraim.” So his heart and the heart of his people were moved as the trees of the woods are moved with the wind.
3 Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-Jashub your son, at the end of the aqueduct from the upper pool, on the highway to the Fuller’s Field, 4 and say to him: ‘Take heed, and be quiet; do not fear or be fainthearted for these two stubs of smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and the son of Remaliah. 5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah have plotted evil against you, saying, 6 “Let us go up against Judah and trouble it, and let us make a gap in its wall for ourselves, and set a king over them, the son of Tabel”—7 thus says the Lord God: “It shall not stand, nor shall it come to pass. 8 For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be broken, so that it will not be a people. 9 The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.”‘”
10 Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 11 “Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!”
13 Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. 15 Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings. 17 The Lord will bring the king of Assyria upon you and your people and your father’s house—days that have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah.”
Ahaz will not ask for a sign from the Lord. He is pretending to be more pious than God because everyone knows you are not supposed to ask God for a sign. The Lord gives Ahaz a sign in condemnation of his unbelief. The Lord promises that the Syrians and Ephraimites shall not prevail against him and destroy the Davidic throne. The sign is the Immanuel child, the Messiah, to show Ahaz that the Lord will not go back on His Word to His servant David. The sign itself shows Ahaz that He is to place His trust in the Lord and not in His own scheming and prowess. A virgin will conceive, which is an impossible thing. The Child will be Immanuel, “God with us,” that is, the Child, born of woman, will be both God and man. The two firebrands who pose a threat to the Davidic throne are nothing compared to the great promises of God. Syria and Ephraim, with all their scheming, cannot usurp what God has ordained.
The baby born of Mary which we celebrate today is God’s sign, not only to Ahaz, but to all mankind that God desires to dwell with mankind and atone for its sin. The birth of Christ is a sign unto all of us that the Lord God has not forsaken sinners but that He wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Today we rejoice that Christ is born, proving that ours is the God Who keeps His promises in the face of all adversity.
Heavenly Father, grant us joy at the birth of Your Only-Begotten Son, for in the manger You show us Your faithfulness to all Your promises. Amen.