More Than a Baby in a Manger

Pam Kanaly and kidsDo you ever look back at certain pictures of when your children were little that evoke an emotional remembrance? This picture does that for me. It was in the late 80’s. I was a brand new single mother. Divorced. Devastated. It was the first Christmas I spent without my husband. Jason was four. Sara was two. (Notice the toys. Surely the joy of a cardboard grocery store and Superman figurines would distract from the obvious—their daddy’s absence.) I remember walking through that Christmas morning wondering, “How will my life ever be the same again.” And you know what? It wasn’t. 

Sometimes Christmas disappointment is camouflaged in a beautiful outcome. Displeasure can be the catalyst that sets us on a life journey with Jesus we never dreamed possible. Yes, life never was the same after my husband left me. But now after almost thirty years of looking back, things are BETTER in an eternal way. My desperation forced me to search for the meaning of this Christmas baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, the ONE who came to deliver us from a life of perpetual pain and destruction. 

One of my favorite Christmas truths is a verse that spells out four of God’s greatest attributes. You’ve heard the verse for years, but stop. Be still. Let them wash over you. 

Isaiah 9:6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulder. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Which one of those attributes of Christ jumped out at you?

  • Wonderful Counselor? Maybe you’re stuck in an issue and need guidance. I love Hebrew meanings. The word for counselor means a person suited to stand near princes and kings as their advisor. Goodness! If Jesus can advise rulers of nations, then surely He can handle with ease our dilemmas. Jesus is wonderful in counsel.
  • Mighty God? Are you carrying a concern that seems bigger than Jesus Himself? He is the conqueror—the ONE who is victorious over our helplessness. Our nature can be fretful and frail, but His nature is constantly divine. If He can carry the issues of Iran and America and all the other 193 countries, then surely He can our burdens. Amen?  (And notice, these issues of ours “rest” not “wrestle” on His shoulders.) 
  • Everlasting Father?I love this reminder of who God is. He is not just our friend now, but His fatherhood role will carry us on into eternity for time without end. The older I get, the more I love this reality. Jesus is forever our protector and provider.
  • Prince of Peace?This one happens to be my favorite today. Maybe like me you’re grappling with an issue. When Jesus left this earth, He gave us the guarantee of His peace through the indwelling Holy Spirit. If we’re without peace, it’s because we haven’t activated that power within us to let it go and put on Jesus as our peace. Jesus GIVES peace. He IS peace. 

Friend, Christmas Day is drawing near. I hope you experience the Christ of Christmas in an undeniable way. After all, that’s what He longs to do.

About Pam Kanaly   

Aloha! I’m Pam Kanaly, President and co-founder of Arise Ministries. But actually, I think Arise found me wanting to bless single moms years ago. Ministry was never on my mind as a kid. All I wanted to be was a hula dancer. So Mother enrolled me in the tiny tots’ class. Guess God knew I’d have two grandbabies born in Hawaii. I love the great outdoors. You might even find me spending time with my husband grizzly bear watching or camping. In fact, it was on a turkey hunt that God gave me the name Arise Ministries in 2002. I suppose it’s a good thing that I majored in Grammar in college since I love to write words of encouragement to single moms.