Christmas Messages
December 20, 2013
A sign from God this Christmas

Fri Dec 20, 2013


“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Look the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

The St Vincent and the Grenadines Christian Council extends warmest Christian greetings to the nation of St Vincent and the Grenadines as we celebrate the Festival of the Nativity and the mystery of the Incarnation.{{more}}

As we celebrate Christmas 2013, we do so under challenging, regional and economic, international circumstances, social and political challenges, moral and spiritual decline. It was in similar circumstances that the prophet Isaiah gave this prophetic word. He was in a crisis. His nation was in a crisis.

In Isaiah, chapter 7, God demonstrates His faithfulness to a promise that He made with King David concerning the Davidic dynasty by giving the ultimate sign to the House of David. The sign would be a virgin born son named Immanuel, God with us. As we examine this passage carefully, we will see from the historical context that Matthew is not taking verse 14 out of context in order to “proof-text” the virgin birth of Jesus (1:22, 23). Moreover, the context is clearly pointing to the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus as the fulfillment of this passage in Isaiah 7.

The events and conversations recorded in Isaiah 7 took place in the year 734/733 BC. It was a time when Ahaz was having problems with his neighbours to the north. Israel, with its capital in Samaria and ruled by Pekah, and Syria, with its capital in Damascus and ruled by Rezin, wanted Ahaz to join a coalition of nations to fight against the “super power” of the day, Assyria, ruled by Tiglath-Pileser III. Ahaz was not a godly or spiritual man, but he was politically smart. He knew that the coalition could not stand up against the mighty Assyrian army, so he declined the invitation. This brought about the second Syro-Ephraimite incursion against Judah. Syria and Ephraim joined forces again to try and overthrow King Ahaz.

In order to get Judah to join the coalition, Pekah and Rezin hatched a plot to overthrow Ahaz and put a “puppet king” on the throne that would bring Judah into the coalition. To back up their conspiracy, Syria deployed troops in Samaria. Ahaz got wind of this plot and began to “shake in his boots.” He started to make secret overtures to the Assyrian king to get Pekah and Rezin off his back (II Kings 16:7, 8). His trust was in Tiglath-Pileser III and not the LORD.

In this chapter, Isaiah reminded Ahaz that God had made a covenant with David and promised him that a Davidic ruler would one day sit upon the throne of David forever (II Sam. 7:12-17).

Our region and world has seen an economic depression not experienced since 1933. Many persons are un-employed and families and businesses are on the brink of economic disaster. This will be for some a bleak holiday with little to celebrate. The St Vincent and the Grenadines Christian Council encourages all persons, where possible, to share with the less fortunate and help to make Christmas more bearable. We remind the nation that Christmas demonstrates the love of a God who shares and cares. In sharing and caring we demonstrate the love of God.

As a nation we also have our share of social dislocations concomitant with the economic decline in the region and world. We had some suicides, a disregard for life and an apparent anger that has become pervasive in society, all highlighted in the many ‘call in programmes’; the homeless, the voiceless, the unemployed and the disadvantaged are looking for a balm, and a sign that someone cares and there is hope and not total despair. That hope comes in God.

Isaiah offers us hope in this passage. He reminded King Ahaz in his darkest hour that God will give a sign; that sign was a virgin who would give birth to a son who will be called Immanuel. The word Immanuel in Hebrew means God is with us and embodies the divine promise of protection to Jerusalem; but it also embodies God’s promise to us this season.

In these tough and challenging times, we are reminded God is with us. He has not abandoned us. With the promise of God’s divine presence with us, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Christian Council wishes the people of this nation a peaceful and blessed Christmas and a productive 2014.