“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. His name will be called the Angel of Great Counsel, for I shall bring peace upon the rulers, peace and health by Him. Great shall be His government, and of His peace there is no end. His peace shall be upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order and establish it with righteousness and judgement, from now and unto ages of ages.” Isaiah 9:6-7

This passage, which is read at the Vespers service of the Nativity, is an astonishing example of the action of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, which enlightened holy individuals such as the Prophet Isaiah, and revealed to them and through them small windows into the eternal mysteries of God’s plan for the salvation of our human race.

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The prophet Isaiah lived 700 years before the coming of Christ, and yet here we see in his writings an incredibly accurate prophecy of the Divine Incarnation. Not only does he write that a Child will be born for us, for the entire human race, but he also adds specifically that “a Son is given” to us. The Holy Fathers of our Church interpret this as a reference to Christ’s human and divine natures. “A Child” is a term which specifically refers to a human infant and thus speaks of Christ’s human nature. This Child “is born” from a human mother like every other human child. However he does not say that “a Son” is born, but “is given” to us from God the Father. The Son of God becomes the Son of Man, the Son of the Virgin.

St Gregory the Theologian in his beautiful Christmas Sermon tells us that when Isaiah speaks of the government of this Child being “upon His shoulder”, he prophesies the coming of the power of the Holy and Precious Cross, which Christ carried upon his shoulder along the road to Golgotha.

Isaiah speaks of the power of Christ and his kingdom while at the same time speaking of peace, righteousness and judgement. The Incarnation of Christ established a new kingdom, the fulfilment of the law and of righteousness, and the promise of eternal peace. Isaiah and the Holy Prophets of the Old Testament leap for joy together with us and the faithful of all ages, because the divine peace that they foresaw and which we experience through the Church is not a temporary peace, but an eternal peace and happiness which will last from now and unto the ages of ages. Amen.


Source: December-January 2014 Lychnos Edition