Advent 2022 #2: Know or feel it?

Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.

At Christmas time it’s easy to just think of Jesus as a baby. It’s what we see everywhere! However, the gospels mostly record his adult life.

The opening line of my post today is from the fourth chapter of Luke’s gospel. Jesus said that line after he read from Isaiah 61 in the synagogue in Nazareth, his home town.

Isaiah 61 is an exultant chapter; the opening particularly so.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour.

I encourage you to read that again. There’s a LOT in there.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me…anointed…good news…bind up…proclaim freedom… release from darkness…favour…vengeance…comfort…crown of beauty…oil of gladness…garment of praise…oaks of righteousness…display of his splendour…

This is what God gives to his people.

I think I best like the juxtaposition of binding up and freedom. God knows who needs binding up for healing and who needs release from oppression. The drawing in and the release together give an all encompassing action to his love.

This is what happens when Jesus arrives. This is what happens at Christmas.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what Christmas feels like or to feel any emotion at all about it. I think it’s quite OK to not feel anything (but Phil Wickham’s The First Noel cracked me last night), even though people are forever saying “It doesn’t feel like Christmas yet.”

Whatever that means to them…

However, I don’t think it’s OK to not know what Christmas is about; that seems problematic to me.

Isaiah 61 probably isn’t your usual first port of call for finding the meaning of Christmas. However, it’s what Jesus, the baby born and placed in the manger, came to earth to provide.

He said so himself.

Yours in believing what he said,

Alison

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