19 December 2018
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Dear Members of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania,
In the 8th
century Before the Common Era, the prophet Isaiah shared a message with the people of Judah offering words of warning and consolation about the coming invasion of the Assyrians from the North. Using an imperial framework for his prophesy, Isaiah shared God’s Word of deliverance and salvation to an oppressed people.
Isaiah gives us names for this coming King: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.” Most important, though, is that in all of these roles, the Savior is human. Flesh and Blood. God among us, like us, to save us. It is a profound and beautiful paradox that God’s supreme solution to our sinfulness is to come among us, as one of us. One of our Proper Prefaces for our Eucharistic celebrations reminds us that Jesus was “tempted in every way as we are, yet did not sin,” and that it is by “his grace that we are able to triumph over evil,” ourselves.
This Christmas, I invite you to consider what Name you have given Jesus. Comforter? Friend? Strength? Companion? Redeemer? Example? Deliverer? Leader? Healer?
The Jesus who comes to us, this Christmas, is exactly
what each of us needs, in our own particularity.
Rejoice that God comes among us, to join us in our earthly walk, and to offer God’s limitless and redemptive love, again, and again.
With love and best wishes for a Holy and Blessed Christmas,
The Rt. Rev. Audrey C. Scanlan