For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful…
A respectable family becomes very reduced in its circumstances; the mother finds it difficult to make the meagre provision suffice for her hungry little ones; their clothes get more ragged; the father's threadbare coat makes it less and less possible for him to obtain the situation which his qualifications deserve. But a child is born into that home, quite unlike the rest of the children — beautiful in feature, quick in intelligence, winsome, gifted, spirituelle. As he grows up, he manifests unusual powers; rapidly distances his compeers; passes from the elementary school to the college, and thence to the university. Presently tidings begin to come back of his success, his growing fame, his prizes, the assured certainty of his becoming a great man; and as they arrive in letter, and rumour, and newspaper, the mother's eye gets brighter; the father no longer evades the associates of earlier days; the home becomes better furnished and the table better spread; the other children are better clothed and educated and put forward in life; and the one glad explanation of it all is found in the words, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given." And as the years go on, whilst money pours in as a golden tide to the successful student, it will find its way increasingly to the family in the old home; and each member of it will reap the benefit of association with its child and son, all that is needed being to prove a distinct need, and to put in an appropriate claim. What a mine of wealth would be opened up in the counsel, strength, resources, influence, and position, of that beloved and trusted son and brother! This will illustrate the prophet's thought. As the oppressed Jews, groaning in their brick kilns, were glad for Moses, given to lead them forth from the house of bondage; as England, travailing under the cruel exactions of the Danes, was glad for our great Alfred; as the Netherlands were glad when William the Silent arose to arrest the bloodthirsty rule of Alva; as Italy was glad when her Victor Emmanuel overthrew the dark misrule of the Papacy — so may we be glad because God has given Himself to us in Jesus. Why should living men complain? Granted that Adam was our father, the second Adam is the Son of Man. If tears and toil and pain and death have come by one, glory and honour and immortality are ours by the other. If we are sons, and therefore younger brothers of the Son; if we have the right to call His Father our Father, we gain from our association with Him more than enough to compensate us for our association with the gardener who stole his Master's fruit in the garden of Paradise. Christian people do not enough appreciate this connection, or avail themselves of its benefits.
(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.