Needing Some Christmas Promise

“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 comfort all who mourn;
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.” Isaiah 61:1-3

Living through a  pandemic has reminded us of our vulnerability. We are not invincible people. A virus, unseen, invisible to the human eye, can take a life or reduce a young person to dependence on oxygen.  A virus can cripple health care systems, close schools,  lay bare inequities, exploit weaknesses in our safety net, and overwhelm our most vulnerable.  A virus can leave catastrophic health and economic consequences behind.

While we wait it out, the sameness of our days, dulls our spirits and whittles at our soul. Isaiah’s words speak to me in this long season of Covid. “Garlands instead of ashes, oil of gladness instead of mourners’ tears.” I’m needing some Christmas promise – some certain hope. As Covid rages in my area and hospitals live on the edge of not enough, health care workers sicken and beds are scarce – I’m needing a solid promise. We will pass through this time, beyond the captivity of now.

I need some binding, healing and soothing of woes and brokenness. An antidote to loneliness, despair and isolation. I need some Christmas promise and Christmas hope, some deep assurance of better days nearby. A day when people held captive by disease are freed, and all who mourn exchange their mourning clothes for ones of celebration. Where despondent, listless and faint spirits are lifted heavenward. A place and time where garlands are dispersed on heavy hearts, and hope rings in joy.

I’m reminded the gospel writer says of Jesus, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:4-5    I’m reminded once more that the light keeps shining, and darkness cannot overcome it. 

Daily Devotions and other Christmas resources can be found at this Link – Devotions for Advent to Epiphany