My denom, the Wesleyan Church, has created a church-wide Advent resource this year. It has some great helps, ideas and multi-media. We like so many others are following the outline for our Advent Worship and spiritual formation.
The first Sunday, November 30, focused on Jesus: Wonderful Counselor. This series will unpack the four names of Jesus given in Isaiah 9.6 and what it might mean to receive Him as the Ultimate Gift in these ways this Christmas.
But are there 4 names (Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace) or five (Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace)? The modifier/noun pattern supports the grouping of four. The fact that wonderful and counselor do not have a definite article (the) preceeding them as the others do lends credance to the grouping of five names.
The words themselves are an interesting mix. Wonderful comes from a Hebrew word that most often is translated as miraculous work attributed to God. It is an amazing mystery how these things were accomplished. These works of God form the basis for exalted praise.
Counselor denotes one who leads with a plan. Like those who advise a king, this counselor will provide wise planning to carry out a goal or objective.
It was not too exegetically palatable or homiletically smooth to teach Jesus as Wonderful Counselor. But I did Sunday. Amazing, jaw-dropping things happen when we follow the leading of this Counselor rather than hurry to the Throne of Mercy/Grace and ask Him to bless our plans that they might succeed. The former leads to victory, the latter leads to confusion about God's love, power and leadership when our plans do not succeed.