6 For 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 (ESV)
Everlasting Father. What an odd phrase to describe a tiny baby! We are accustomed to thinking of Jesus as the Son of God, born in Bethlehem to the Virgin Mary. And while it’s absolutely true that Jesus is the Son of God, Isaiah tells us that somehow he is also our Everlasting Father. What is Isaiah talking about and what does it mean that Christ is our father?
Fathers are powerful. Many fathers recognize that their sacred responsibility to lead, protect, and provide for their families is an honor bestowed upon them by God himself. Sadly, others shirk their duty and their families suffer. However, either way, the one thing a father can never be is inconsequential. Though he came in humility as a baby, Christ is the all-powerful King who rules and reigns over the entire universe, upholding it by the word of his power.
the one thing a father can never be is inconsequential.
Fathers protect. God didn’t make fathers powerful for their own sake. He made them powerful because their families need to be protected. Whether from physical bad guys or the schemes of the devil, fathers are called to lay down their own lives to protect their families. However, while our fathers have and will fail us, we have hope that our Everlasting Father will never fail us. The Christ child came to save a people for himself, protecting us from sin and its effects, restoring us into fellowship with God and each other.
Fathers provide. There are numerous and ever-expanding needs in every family. And though no family can or should have everything they want, it’s dad’s job to make sure mom has the means to buy groceries, clothes, and other needs. Providing is a uniquely fatherly responsibility, a reality that elicits no small amount of consternation from a world that wants to flatten the distinctions between the sexes. Christ provides better than any earthly father ever could, giving us grace upon grace and salvation from even death itself. As the old carol reminds us, “He comes to make his blessings flow, far as the curse is found.”
Fathers cultivate life. Like our first father, Adam, fathers are given the duty to care for creation and all its inhabitants. Cultivating his family in godliness was his responsibility—a job that Adam neglected, ultimately leading to humanity and all of creation being subjected to the weight of sin’s curse. However, where Adam’s sin brought death, Christ’s righteousness brought life. And because he is our Everlasting Father, the life that he brings is everlasting life.
...where Adam’s sin brought death, Christ’s righteousness brought life. And because he is our Everlasting Father, the life that he brings is everlasting life.
As we enjoy these last weeks before Christmas, let’s remember and give thanks for the child who was born, the son who was given—our Everlasting Father—Christ the LORD.
Everlasting Father, cornerstone of our faith and family.
When some of us think of our Savior as “Father,” it makes
us want to run eagerly into a welcome-home embrace.
When others hear “Father,”
it makes us wince, like salt on a wound.
And yet for many, “Father”
is a concept nearly entirely unknown.
Our culture has twisted and villainized the idea of
patriarchy, and done its best to convince us that fathers
are useless. Shield us from these lies, and forgive us for
every time we’ve believed them.
for every skewed perspective
of what a patriarch ought to look like
and teach us
to rebuild our ideas about fathers around you.
Remind us daily, Oh God, of your fatherly love for us.
You saw your children in need,
Enveloped us in your arms like only a father can,
Bringing our head to your chest,
Close enough to learn the heartbeat of our Father.
In our darkness we, your children,
were rescued from ourselves and drawn into the light.
Oh that these truths might fuel our lungs as we sing carols
in the name of the Lamb of God!
Let every child remember that no matter how badly their
earthly father has wronged them, our Heavenly Father
never will. May every parent look to the cross for the
perfect father to model our parenting after:
Provision. Protection. Pursuit.
And, today, we pray for and give thanks
for our earthly fathers.
For the fathers not yet in Christ,
draw them closer every day.
For the fathers abiding in the light,
provide them wisdom, joy, and peace.
For the fathers who have gone before us to glory,
heal our grief and bless the anticipation of our joyous
reunion in paradise.