Summary: This is the Christmas Eve message for this series and looks back to Isiah's prophecy that Jesus' name would be called Wonderful
That is the question isn’t it? Doesn’t anyone know what Christmas is all about? And if you’ve been at Cornerstone through December you know that we’ve been trying to answer Charlie Brown’s question.
The is the fiftieth anniversary of this iconic Christmas special and while it has been a part of many of our Christmases over those years it really wasn’t expected to be all that successful. When Charles Shultz presented the finished project neither the network of the sponsor felt that it had much chance of being aired after the initial showing.
Whatever light hearted Christmas comedy they had envisioned it didn’t share much with this melancholy tale that was delivered. With amateur children reading the lines, a jazz score for a sound track and the highlight being a recitation from the King James Version of the Bible it certainly didn’t fit the formula for a successful children’s special. And the studio bosses wanted to axe Linus’ reciting the Christmas story from the Bible. However it is said that Charles Schulz was adamant about keeping this scene in, remarking, “If we don’t tell the true meaning of Christmas, who will?”
When the excutives viewed the completed project they were moritified and were convinced it would be a flop. However the time was already set for it so the feeling was that they would show it once and be done with it. I’m sure they were surprised when 50% of the televisions in the US were tuned into it’s first air and the rest is as they say “History”
And so Charlie Brown asks his question and Linus answers it with the reading from Luke 2:8-14. And when he’s done Linus proudly states, “and that Charlie Brown is what Christmas is all about.” But he missed something, he doesn’t tell us who the baby is? And that is critically important.
Too many people see all of Christmas encapsulated in the birth of the baby without ever naming the baby. But the Christmas story began long before the birth of the baby and even long before Gabriel arrived on Mary’s doorstep.
In Matthew’s account of the Christmas story we are told Matthew 1:22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: There were many prophets who spoke of the coming of the Messiah but Matthew was speaking specifically about the prophet Isaiah. And it’s Isaiah’s words that we are looking at this evening. Isaiah 9:6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
This prophecy is about the coming Messiah the one who we now recognize and acknowledge as Jesus Christ. Listen to those first few words again “And he will be called: Wonderful” What a thought and indeed at first thought what a truth. The Name of Jesus will be called wonderful. And yet we have to ask ourselves is His name really called wonderful today. In 2015 do we consider the name “Jesus Christ” wonderful. Does the world marvel at the name of this Carpenter from Nazareth? I don’t think so.
No I think that today in 2015 that the name of Jesus is mundane, and I think his name is mediocre and I think his name is common. And I think with way too many people in 2015 the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God is profane. Not wonderful at all.
To the people of our land and our city the name of Jesus is not a wonderful name, it’s no longer wonderful and marvellous, instead it’s a curse an oath or a nothing. People don’t realize when they are misusing Christ’s name because they don’t realize they are using it, they just don’t think about it. Have you ever corrected someone who blasphemed the name of Jesus and they look at you like you are daft, and then they say “No I didn’t” Yes you did. My favourite I’m in a store and someone says “Oh Jesus”, I say “Where?” And they say “Where what?” and I say “Where’s Jesus?” and they just shake their head and walk away, normally before I can ask them where the white goes when the snow melts.
And so where does the problem lie? With Jesus or with people? Is Jesus any less wonderful today then he was 2000 years ago? Or has our vision simply become distorted? This evening I would like to remind you just why his name is wonderful.
Matthew 1:20 For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 1) He is Wonderful in His Conception. As we enter the Christmas season we sing about Christ being born of a virgin, we read about Christ being born of a virgin but do we really stop and think about it? Do we actually understand it, and believe it? Or maybe we are like the English Bishop David Jenkins who said “I wouldn't put it past God to arrange a virgin birth if He wanted, but I very much doubt if He would.” Well I have news for Bishop Jenkins not only was this something God could do it is something God would do.