Unto Us a Child Is Born

Two of the most significant Old Testament prophecies of Jesus Christ focus on His birth. Both of these are in the book of Isaiah, and both also appear in the Book of Mormon:

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14, 2 Nephi 17:14; see also Matthew 1:22-23

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light….

Thou hast multiplied the nation, and increased the joy:…

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, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:2-3, 6; 2 Nephi 19:2-3, 6

[Note that the King James Version says, “…and not increased the joy.” However, most other Bible translations indicate that God has increased their joy, which makes more sense in the context and which matches the version found in the Book of Mormon.]

I like how Isaiah personalizes the event by saying that the Savior was born “unto us.” Mary and Joseph must have been delighted to welcome this extraordinary child into their family, but they were constantly reminded that He was not theirs alone. The visit of the shepherds, the testimonies of Simeon and Anna in the temple, and the subsequent gifts from the wise men all indicated that this child was born for all of us, that His earthly ministry, His teachings, and above all His sacrifice would bless all of God’s children and that we all have reason to rejoice in His birth.

I hope you enjoy this recording of the chorus “For Unto Us a Child is Born” from Handel’s Messiah, You’ve probably heard it many times performed by a large choir and orchestra. This performance is different. With only 13 singers and a 17-member orchestra, it has an intimacy which seems particularly appropriate to this prophecy.

Merry Christmas!

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