I can remember my Mom playing Handel’s Messiah for us all the time when we were growing up. Her big musical displays usually took place in the kitchen and when she really got going she would direct the boom box like an orchestra or grab one of us to dance around the kitchen with her. She loved Celine Dion, and Josh Groban, as teenagers we lacked the appreciation for a finely tuned vocalist. Celine Dion still isn’t my first choice, but I have rocked a bit of Josh Groban from time to time, if you can really “rock” JG. Anyway, I still think of her and time Handel’s messiah plays or I read through Isaiah 9. I am not sure I can really read Isaiah nine so much as listen to it sung Handel-style in my head, usually with an intense focus on the Soprano line.
In case you are unfamiliar with what I am talking about, use this handy link to get on the same page, it is pretty beautiful and my soul usually starts to move up and down with the music. I am pretty sure I do an embarrassing dance with my eyebrows too. I think my soul wants my body to ballet dance along with the choir, but since I lack even basic coordination my body and soul have settled on the eyebrow dance.
6 For to us a child is born,to us a son is given,and the government will be on his shoulders.And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Have you ever really spent time thinking through all the names of Jesus outlined in this verse? I wondered if we annually tracked every person they would connect with different names each year. For me each Christmas season is a culmination of the calendar year that goes before it. I sort through things at Christmas, I take stock, I make theories and I ask questions. I don’t have previous years data to really flesh this theory out, I have never had THAT much time on my hands, but maybe I will now.
I think this year I really connect with “wonderful counselor” and the whole idea of what it means to relate to Jesus in a personal way, like you would relate to someone sitting across from you, offering you advice and counsel. Having started my masters in counseling at Asbury I know a little bit more than the average patient about the therapeutic process. The counselor listens and uses questions and key phrases to help the patient figure things out for themselves. Counseling would be less than half as effective if you sat down and someone told you: Here is what you are doing wrong, here is why it is so dumb for you to think or do what you are are doing, and here is what you need to do about it, like now.
What is so great about Jesus being our wonderful counselor is that he already knows all our history and our hot button issues. There is no getting to know you process when you allow him to counsel you and lead you. He is what we are craving in this world on the deepest level, he knows us fully, more than we know ourselves. And as an added bonus he knows how to best lead us, because he is perfect and has all the patience in the world. This last part sounds a bit tacky but it goes with the counselor thing- His schedule is always open for you. Have you ever been in therapy, had a craptastic day and wished you had appointment at that very moment? Wished you could pull a Jack Nicholson in “As good as it gets” and bust down your counselors door and start yelling about your momentary freak out? Not an issue with Jesus, he always has room for you.
I always worry that one of my doctrine teachers, or seminary geniuses is going to come along and read some of what I take away from the bible and think, “as I suspected, she really was not paying attention in the slightest.” I was, I tried, and hey I did learn this: The Hebrews believe that each text has layers, facets, like a diamond. There are so many levels to each text that we can learn from. That’s reassuring isn’t it? This is one of my layers.