6 "For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this."
A Message of Great Hope
by Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
As Christians, we are encouraged to put our hope in God, our eternal Father who extends to us a relentless love and everlasting life. Only in Him will we find true peace.
The words of Isaiah 9:6-7 directly speak to this truth in the form of an astonishing prophecy — that a child, born as the Messiah, will unite God with all of humanity. It is a reminder that the One who came to earth to die for our sins supplies all we need to understand the fullness of God’s love. It is a message of true joy and great hope.
These verses from the prophet Isaiah remind us that the presence of Jesus in our lives comes in many forms. He is the “Everlasting Father.” I remember as a child watching my father coach student-athletes. He was patient with them and worked to bring out their best. Dad was like that even more so with me as I strived to find my calling — always loving me, encouraging me, and helping shape who I am today. In naming Jesus the Everlasting Father, we find the perfect strength of an unwavering and eternal love. God cares for us as His own, and we will never reach the end of His love for us. I pray we will lean into the loving arms of our Everlasting Father this Advent season.
He is the “Prince of Peace.” From Him we receive the blessings of comfort and serenity. Even when storms come, we can rest in the peace of knowing they don’t define us. He can take the fragments of our lives and bring us to wholeness with a peace we can never fully comprehend but upon which we can always depend. I pray we will feel the presence of the Prince of Peace during what can be a stressful season of preparation.
Jesus also is a “Wonderful Counselor,” providing guidance and wisdom when we feel like we have lost our way. We can find His counsel through the reading and study of scripture, through prayer, and through joining with other Christians in worship. His counsel is available to us whenever and wherever we seek it. I pray we seek the wonder of God’s counsel this Christmas season as we strengthen our relationships with one another and with Him.
Isaiah describes the Messiah as “Mighty God.” We worship an omnipotent and powerful God. In Him, we serve a Savior who is perfectly equipped to take on the enemies of His Kingdom. He also stands ready to equip us for the battles of our everyday lives. His presence in the world and in our lives is unbounded and eternal. I pray we will call upon the might of our God to stand with us in battle against the thoughts and situations that draw us away from Him as we look toward the magnificent celebration of the Savior’s birth.
I am blessed as President of Baylor University to shine a light on our calling as an institution to pursue excellence across all aspects of university life — academics, student experiences, athletics, service, and research — while remaining firmly rooted in a deep and abiding Christian faith. Baylor’s growth as a preeminent Christian research university is grounded in a firm foundation, and we must continue to look to the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, and our Everlasting Father to guide us.
I pray that in the gatherings with friends and family and in the often-rare quiet moments, we will each find a renewed hope in our lives this Advent season. In the fullness of God’s love for us, He is not asking us to prove we are worthy of this hope; He is offering us the perfect gift — the source of our hope — His son, Jesus Christ.
Learn More About Our Guest Writer
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., is the 15th president of Baylor University, having served in that capacity since 2017. During her tenure as president, Dr. Livingstone has overseen the development of Baylor’s strategic plan, Illuminate, which provides a foundation for Baylor’s aspiration to become a preeminent Christian research university. In addition, she has led Give Light, a $1.1 billion comprehensive philanthropic campaign that undergirds Illuminate, reaching the campaign’s fundraising goals well before its anticipated conclusion.
Enhancing the University’s academic enterprise has been a key priority of Dr. Livingstone’s leadership. She is animated by a desire to build upon Baylor’s historic strengths and increase undergraduate and graduate educational opportunities while expanding the University’s service to the surrounding world through research and scholarship. Through the philanthropic generosity of the Baylor Family, the University has added more than 30 new fully endowed chairs to the faculty since her arrival. In addition, 100 new faculty lines will be created over the course of five years in support of Illuminate’s goals.
As a result of Dr. Livingstone’s dynamic and collaborative leadership, the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education designated Baylor a Research 1 university in December 2021 – its highest classification – three years earlier than internal projections had anticipated.