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This Christmas, thank God for His Son and for freedom to worship


“But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish,” Isaiah begins his prophecy of Christ’s birth. He is addressing an Israel ravaged by war — an Israel in anguish.

“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 course, Isaiah here foretells the event we celebrate every Christmas: the birth of our Messiah, the dawn of a new age. “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.” 

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We all know, however, that Christ’s coming did not immediately end men’s wars or usher in universal peace on earth. We know that being a Christian often makes us targets for persecution, rather than protecting us from it. That is the case in contemporary America and it has been the case since the very dawn of Christianity. 

But God’s Kingdom has been established on earth, in the body of His believers. Of His peace there will be no end, if we trust in Him. And this remains true regardless of our political circumstances. The Kingdom of God abides without regard to the rise and fall of men.

That’s why Christmas is such an important season. It isn’t just the celebration of our Redeemer’s birth — it’s a celebration of His triumph, and a reminder that we are blessed to live in a nation where we can freely and publicly submit to God’s kingship. 

The Prince of Peace isn’t an earthly prince, nor does He need to be. But He does need to govern our lives. He will establish and uphold justice and righteousness in every heart where He rules, and in every home where He is obeyed. 

I want to return to Isaiah’s words: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder.” 

Christ establishes a new kingdom, a new righteousness. The government upon His shoulder is the one to which all Christians are truly subject, the one by which all man’s governments shall be measured. 

He is not only salvation. He is justice. He is the highest and final authority. And the American governmental project holds at its very heart the knowledge that man is uniquely endowed with unalienable rights, due to his innate dignity and to the sanctity of his life. 

The Founders understood that man was not the final authority, or the source of these rights. They built our government with this in mind, choosing to limit the exercise of temporal power and doggedly protect the liberty of those governed. 

While much has changed since the Founding, our nation still bears witness to the value of this radical system. We’ve been blessed not only by the birth and reign of Christ our King, but with an indisputable and permanent right to freely submit to Him in public worship, in belief and in speech. 

So, thank God for the gift of His infant son, who we celebrate this Christmas. Thank God for the manifold gifts of liberty — and pray and work that they may be preserved, even in times of anguish.

Timothy Head is the executive director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition

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