Isaiah 9:6-7; I Thessalonians 5:1-6

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.

Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.


Isaiah 9 is a classic Old Testament text prophesying the coming of Jesus. It is a common lyric in both traditional hymnody as well as in modern worship music, particularly around the Advent and Christmas season. Though there were some parameters around the first coming of Christ (e.g., that he would be of the lineage of David and that he would establish justice and righteousness), no one knew with certainty when the Messiah would arrive.

Likewise, the only insight we are given regarding Christ's second coming is that he will come "like a thief in the night" (I Thessalonians 5:2). Paul urges us, however, to be "awake" and "sober." He calls us to live alert and aware. As Christ's followers, we wait and we hope for we do not know the time of his return. Come, Lord Jesus.


1. How do the titles in Isaiah 9:6-7 inform your understanding of Christ (i.e., Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, etc.) during the Christmas season?

2. Describe what it means that Christ will return "like a thief in the night" (I Thessalonians 5:2).

3. How do you live with a healthy awareness that Christ could return at any moment? Does the surprise factor of Christ's return affect the choices you make from day to day? Why or why not?


God of hope,
with expectant hearts 
we your people await Christ’s coming.
As once he came in humility,
so now may he come in glory,
that he may make all things perfect
in your everlasting kingdom.
For he is Lord for ever and ever. Amen.


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