The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
He has sent me to bring good news.. . Isaiah 61:1
The people listening to Isaiah so long ago needed to hear good news — after years of captivity and slavery, judgement and exile, the Jews needed Isaiah’s words of hope.
Aren’t we still a people seeking words of hope today? We live in a world that seems to be filled with violence and disagreement. I know I need to hear some good news. These words of Isaiah bring us good news — and remind us of the coming of Jesus who will be our ultimate bringer of good news.
Isaiah chapters 60-61 remind us of what’s to come, “… therefore, they shall possess a double portion; everlasting joy shall be theirs.”
Christmas is more than just lights, trees and presents. It is more than just a warm feeling. Christmas is that sense of renewal and liberation that comes from knowing great joy. Filled with the Spirit of God, Isaiah promised that joy through the proclamation of the good news, through the binding of the broken hearted, through liberty for captives and release for prisoners.
My mom always used to say that the best Christmas presents were the ones we didn’t know we always wanted. The presents we opened that were perfect to us, yet we may not have even known that item existed.
I think the marvelous thing about the joy of Christ’s birth is that like those perfect surprises under the tree, we didn’t truly know what we were waiting for until it came. The minute we first behold God’s glory wrapped in swaddling clothes, we know it was what we had always wanted, what we had always needed. It fills us with joy.
This Christmas, may each of us be filled with joy as we once again hear the voice of the prophets calling out word of hope, new life, restoration and good news.