We need a little more awe these days don’t you think? I don’t me “ah look at the baby” but jaw-dropping, senses defying awe. We need wonder. It seems like people are rarely amazed by anything anymore – they’ve seen it all. Sure we get it excited about stuff but it quickly wears off. People flock to the stores to buy the newest iphone and then again 6 months later but do they ever stop to marvel at the countless hours of work, the ingenuity that went into making it? We might get excited about a beautiful play in the game sunday – the quarterback firing a pass like a guided missile into triple coverage, the receiver turning his body at just the right moment to haul it in. We cheer and yell or throw things but do you stop to wonder at the strength of the arm, the dexterity of the hands or the hours of planning, preparation and practice that went into that one play? It’s easy to develop the “seen that before attitude,” writing the amazing and the incredible off as simply impossible.
That of course is what the world does when it comes to Christmas. Sure they like to get all jazzed up about the wonder and excitement of family and presents etc but what about the virgin birth? A myth they say! A fantasy. It’s too incredible – no intelligent person could believe that! Even many churches these days have written it off – they say God didn’t really mean it, it’s just a metaphor (what for I do not know), it never really happened. Far too easily, we can adopt such an attitude towards Immanuel as well. During the Christmas season, we stop to marvel at the Savior’s manger, but how much do we really do that? Where is our focus mainly: God with us, or movies, shopping, meals and family? Even when we do stop to be amazed at the miracle that God has worked, how quickly does it sometimes fade? Christmas comes and goes. The lights come down, the tree browns in the yard, we go back to the humdrum of our daily lives and how often do we stop and behold the sign. In our text, Isaiah seeks to grab our attention, to amaze us by showing us a sign to behold. This verse is one of the most dramatic in the whole bible – Isaiah literally says “Behold the virgin – pregnant and bearing a son and calling his name God with us!” “Look at it” he shouts! Stop what you are doing and be amazed at this sign – a sign to behold!