Isaiah 61:1-3

 The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.  Isaiah 61:1-3 


Christmas Eve is a week away.  That is amazing.  I’m so focused on what needs to be done each day that I am hardly giving a second thought to what it coming up around the corner.  It wasn’t always like this.


I remember Christmas as that bright beacon of hope standing in the dead center of life called “winter.”  From the moment we first starting thumbing through the Sears Christmas Wishbook, whittling down our dreams to the one or two things that we couldn’t possibly face the rest of our lives without, Christmas was the watery mirage twinkling through the icicles on every roof, the crunchy snow under every step, those final horrific days of school before vacation.


What changed?


I can’t answer that question.  So many things changed that I can’t single out anything.  I just don’t look at life like I used to.  In so many ways, I’m the person that I’ve always been but in many others, I’m not.  I’ve learned, no matter what it is that I am looking forward to, eventually the day will come.  And looking too far off in the future lessens my appreciation for each day.  So my focus has narrowed.


Isaiah made great promises.  The year of the Lord’s favor, the year of Jubilee, was clearly a day to look forward to.  All the wrongs of life would be righted.  The broken restored, the mourning comforted, the captives freed.  It was a great promise.  A day well worth yearning for.


They received glimpses of the day.  Like peeking ahead into a wrapped Christmas present, little glimmers of hope would appear.  But they would fade.  The darkness would deepen again.  There was great wisdom in planting Christmas in the dead of winter.


For one day a child would be born.  He would grow into his destiny and one day would reach for these words from the prophet Isaiah.  In front of those who knew him best, he would recite these words, he would renew this promise.  But the people would reject him.  Strange, isn’t it?


But not so strange.  Because the truth is that many Christmas’s have been great disappointments in our lives.  So many hopes remain unfulfilled – at least in the way and the timing that we would prefer.  Eventually a person grows accustomed to disappointment.  And perhaps then misses the miracle in their midst. 


All the more reason to slow down, to take one day at a time, to notice…


Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, our Redeemer, our Savior, our Liberator.  May today be a great day for us in you.  May today be the day that we know freedom, comfort, hope, and healing.  And if not today, may today be the day that we are renewed in our hope and conviction that that day will come, and that we will be part of it.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


6 Responses to “Isaiah 61:1-3”

  1. Perry Dukes Says:

    What changed? What happened? Time happened. Thank God that he transcends time. If only we could not focus so much on time. Have a great Christmas.

  2. Marlys Says:

    I so appreciate finding your devotions in my inbox. That you for blessing us with each one. Merry Christmas! Marlys

  3. Mary Says:

    Am so enjoying your Devotions this week.

  4. Gloria Rockhold Says:

    Right on. What has changed, indeed! Society, culture, the financial divide widens, poor get poorer, rich get richer; but, the ‘rest’ of the world is beginning to get what we have. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Getting and having so much STUFF has not created a better society or a better world. We pray for more equity and equality – so those who have nothing at least have the basics for a safe and healthy life – not necessarily more stuff but clean water, abundant harvest, safe homes. Our world gets so cluttered and time goes so fast. Perry Dukes is right: Thank God that ‘God’ transcends time.

  5. Georgene Says:

    This is a great prayer. Thank you for somehow always saying just what I need to hear.

  6. Carolee Groux Says:

    My past Christmases spent in northern Minnesota were much like yours. Thank you for reminding us today of all the great promises Isaiah made to the people awaiting Jesus, the Christ’s, arrival. We have known His presence in our lives all of our lives. We celebrate Jesus’ arrival with our Advent season, and it’s highlight Christmas. As you put so well, “let us not miss the miracle in our midst”.
    Blessings, Pastor Kerry & your readers.

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