By Carey Dean
All humanity enters this world as a son or daughter. The deepest part of our soul longs to know and be known by our Creator. Inside our first breath resides a beginning cry of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom….[me.]” Here resides the heart of the advent season. Advent’s fulness is experienced when we recount our past and present distress, leading to hope realized in Jesus. Dietrich Bonhoeffer understood Advent in this same way.
“The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Isaiah 9:1-7 is a beautiful passage for Advent’s journey. Gloom becomes glory. Darkness is overcome by light. Anguish gives way to multiplied joy. Oppression disappears, and freedom is born. All of this hope is found not in a king’s coronation but in a child’s birth. The names ascribed to the promised child give the holy introduction of his wisdom (Wonderful Counselor), power (Mighty God), love (Eternal Father), and victory (Prince of Peace).
Glorious hope is found in the title “Everlasting Father.” In the context of Isaiah 9, Israel’s redemption is declared, and Messiah’s reign is defined. Israel’s coming King will have a government ruled by the love of an Everlasting Father. This divine love promises to meet the deepest needs of His sons and daughters. The provision of light will shine brightly in the kingdom and overcome all darkness. In addition to light, joy is assured to be multiplied within His children. This divine love will also protect from any oppressor. Sure victory is in the hands of a loving, faithful Father. This lasting protection will be established and upheld with perfect justice and righteousness.
The Messiah came, and hope was born. Being ascribed the name of “Everlasting Father” is not to deny the Trinity. The prophet Isaiah is not destroying the mode of existence among the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Instead, this name given to the promised one affirms that the child was, in essence, God Himself. Redemption’s plan was for the promised child to come as fully God and fully man. The Father of all creation humbly came as the son of man. In Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection, humanity would see a Father’s sacrificial love instead of a father’s scornful rebuke.
We forever will rest inside an Everlasting Father’s provision and protection. There is a powerful place we stand called the “already, not yet.” Jesus has come, but He is also coming again! Living in the “already,” our testimony is to the glory of the Messiah who has conquered sin and death. The life of Jesus is now our life. But there is also a “not yet” life we live. Jesus’ first coming destroyed sin’s power and gave resurrection life for all who would believe. Christ’s second coming will forever destroy the work of the Enemy. Our Advent is inside the “already, not yet.” We celebrate His coming and look toward His coming again of our Father forever. We can wait with assured expectation because the zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish it.