From The Pastor
Part of Isaiah's hopeful description of the Messiah contains the traditional seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Messiah, and looking forward to his coming in glory, let us take a look at those gifts and see how we can use them.
Wisdom is the gift of seeing God in creation. It means that we value the things of this world only as they help us to know and love God more. The second gift, understanding, follows from wisdom. We understand what God expects of us in dealing with creation and other people. This gift helps us know how to act in a world that seems to ignore God.
Counsel follows from understanding as the gift of making correct judgments on how to act. For example, understanding can lead us to love others; counsel guides us to love them in appropriate ways.
Strength, or fortitude, is the gift that enables us to do those things inspired by understanding and counsel, even if they are difficult. John the Baptist displays that gift in the Gospel. Fortitude gave him the courage to die for his faith.
Knowledge is similar to counsel in that we begin to see what God wants for us in this world. Knowledge leads us to deeper revelations of the truths of our faith. This can lead to the sixth gift, piety (seventh in Isaiah's text--"delight in the Lord"), a willingness to worship and love God, a desire to be close to God in prayer.
The final gift, fear of the Lord, is the awe and wonder of recognizing how great God is, how much God loves us, and how much we want to stay close to God. And the desire to be close to God circles back to the wisdom with which we see God in creation.