Advent Week 2: Mighty God


“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” — ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭9‬:‭6‬



When the name that proceeds your coming is “Mighty God” there are bound to be a lot of expectations placed upon you. Nearly 900 years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah 9 prophesied and gave names to the coming Messiah. The second of these names, Mighty God, evokes a figure of strength—a warrior, someone with great power. For generations, this name set expectations of who the Messiah would be, and those expectations did not fit a baby born to ordinary parents. During this season of Advent, we are presented with numerous opportunities to ponder the person of Jesus—how he both fulfilled and superseded speculation and predictions in unexpected ways.

The seasons of Advent and of Christmas hold many expectations. We have traditions that must be carried out just so, we anticipate certain reactions when giving loved ones gifts, and we seek out the prescribed emotions of the season in our own hearts. There are a lot of expectations placed on the month of December!

Jesus also felt the pressure of expectations. A mighty god was imagined to be a warrior who would stop the years of captivity and oppression faced by the Jewish people. A mighty god surely wouldn’t be born in the midst of a chaotic census in a town not his own to parents of low economic status. And as he grew older, a mighty god couldn’t be someone more familiar with tax collectors, fishermen, women, and children than he was with kings and high officials. Afterall, the expectation set in Isaiah 9:3 was a man who people praised because “[he] enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.” That was surely not the unexpected baby or the teacher of fisherman.

Yet, Jesus still embodied the title of Mighty God with ease and grace. For who else could calm a raging sea, bring the dead back to life, converse with beggars and officials in the same breath, and cause the whole earth to grow dark and quake? This Mighty God may not have been a war-experienced man, yet Christ embodied a different and arguably more powerful form of political might and physical strength. There could not have been a more perfect display of power than the sacrifice Christ took upon himself for the good of all humanity by brutally dying on the Cross and then rising to life again in magnificent glory three days later for the love of all the world.

Jesus subverted the expectations of the generations before him and yet he never fell short of the prophecies and names given to him. Maybe Christmas will look more like that this year too. As we sip on cups of hot cocoa, let us be reminded of unexpected fulfillments. Be it time with loved ones or opportunities to form new friendships, the gift we’ve always wanted or an unexpected gesture of generosity. In a much-needed breath of fresh air during a chaotic season or an abundance of peaceful time, may our expectations of Advent, Christmas, and the character of Christ as the awaited Messiah be met in unexpected ways, and may we have the keen awareness to notice.


Words: Sabrina Dawson
Images: Alsu Vershinina, Chad Madden

A Christmas tree decorated with bright red ornaments and bows
Closeup of Christmas tree bough, decorated with red ornaments, dried orange slices, and pine cones
An ornaments hung on a Christmas tree with a mantle lined with stockings in the background
Christmas tree decorated with bright red ornaments and bows

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” — ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭9‬:‭6‬



When the name that proceeds your coming is “Mighty God” there are bound to be a lot of expectations placed upon you. Nearly 900 years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah 9 prophesied and gave names to the coming Messiah. The second of these names, Mighty God, evokes a figure of strength—a warrior, someone with great power. For generations, this name set expectations of who the Messiah would be, and those expectations did not fit a baby born to ordinary parents. During this season of Advent, we are presented with numerous opportunities to ponder the person of Jesus—how he both fulfilled and superseded speculation and predictions in unexpected ways.

The seasons of Advent and of Christmas hold many expectations. We have traditions that must be carried out just so, we anticipate certain reactions when giving loved ones gifts, and we seek out the prescribed emotions of the season in our own hearts. There are a lot of expectations placed on the month of December!

Jesus also felt the pressure of expectations. A mighty god was imagined to be a warrior who would stop the years of captivity and oppression faced by the Jewish people. A mighty god surely wouldn’t be born in the midst of a chaotic census in a town not his own to parents of low economic status. And as he grew older, a mighty god couldn’t be someone more familiar with tax collectors, fishermen, women, and children than he was with kings and high officials. Afterall, the expectation set in Isaiah 9:3 was a man who people praised because “[he] enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.” That was surely not the unexpected baby or the teacher of fisherman.

Yet, Jesus still embodied the title of Mighty God with ease and grace. For who else could calm a raging sea, bring the dead back to life, converse with beggars and officials in the same breath, and cause the whole earth to grow dark and quake? This Mighty God may not have been a war-experienced man, yet Christ embodied a different and arguably more powerful form of political might and physical strength. There could not have been a more perfect display of power than the sacrifice Christ took upon himself for the good of all humanity by brutally dying on the Cross and then rising to life again in magnificent glory three days later for the love of all the world.

Jesus subverted the expectations of the generations before him and yet he never fell short of the prophecies and names given to him. Maybe Christmas will look more like that this year too. As we sip on cups of hot cocoa, let us be reminded of unexpected fulfillments. Be it time with loved ones or opportunities to form new friendships, the gift we’ve always wanted or an unexpected gesture of generosity. In a much-needed breath of fresh air during a chaotic season or an abundance of peaceful time, may our expectations of Advent, Christmas, and the character of Christ as the awaited Messiah be met in unexpected ways, and may we have the keen awareness to notice.


Words: Sabrina Dawson
Images: Alsu Vershinina, Chad Madden

An ornament hung on a Christmas tree with a mantle lined with stockings in the background

Additional readings

Finding God in Mystery and Wonder

How mystery and wonder invites us to seek God in newer and deeper ways.

On Relinquishing Control, A Prayer for Anxiety

Reflective thoughts and study of Philippians 4:6-7 on how God is in control in the midst of anxiety.

Creativity as Devotional Practice

A reflection on how we can approach the creative process as a devotional practice.

Listening with Intention

Adapting our daily rhythms to hear where the Spirit is leading.


Additional readings

Finding God in Mystery and Wonder

How mystery and wonder invites us to seek God in newer and deeper ways.

On Relinquishing Control, A Prayer for Anxiety

Reflective thoughts and study of Philippians 4:6-7 on how God is in control in the midst of anxiety.

Creativity as Devotional Practice

A reflection on how we can approach the creative process as a devotional practice.

Listening with Intention

Adapting our daily rhythms to hear where the Spirit is leading.