Call Him Wonderful (Isaiah 9:6, Colossians 1:15, 18-19)
Fun fact: by some estimates, the vocabulary of the English language includes roughly a million words, give or take. Yet, most of us tend to use only a fraction of the huge variety available to us. That means some words get overused to the point that they become cliché. Some words that our grandparents considered extremely impolite and rarely if ever spoke have had their sharp edges worn off over time. Some words have had their original impact blunted through overuse. And some words have taken on new meanings altogether through misuse. English vocabulary is an ever evolving organism.
Take the word “wonderful,” for example. We use it all the time. You got a new job? Wonderful! How was your vacation? Wonderful! Baby on the way? Wonderful! But what if there was more to the meaning of “wonderful” than simply “great”? If we look back at Isaiah 9:6 in the original Hebrew, the word translated as “wonderful” means remarkable or incomprehensible; that which excites or causes wonder; a splendid or conspicuous work; a marvel; a miracle. Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary adds a modern touch: surprising; strange; astonishing. Does that give you goosebumps? So much more than just plain great, isn’t it?
What about “counselor”? When we read this we probably imagine an adviser, someone who offers perspective and wisdom, who can design a plan to help us through a dark or troubling time. But if we look at Micah 4:9, we see a counselor equated with a king. So Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor, will design and carry out a royal and marvelous plan, one that will help us through our present darkness. He will do a miraculous thing! And we know, because we know the entire story, that he does just that: a splendid and conspicuous work, incomprehensible to us mere humans. Remarkable and strange, surprising and astonishing. Wonderful!
We are starving for wonder. In our attempts to explain everything scientifically, we have scrubbed the mystery right out of the world. But in this season of Advent, this holy and wondrous season, mystery reenters our lives in the form of a God who took on flesh and came into the world as a newborn child, growing into a man in whom all the fullness of God would dwell. The perfect image bearer of the Almighty. Call him a marvel, a miracle. Call him the strange and astonishing God-King. Call him Wonderful. Come, let us adore him!