During this season of giving our focus can be so invested in what presents we’ll have under the tree that we may forget what people really need, the gifts Jesus was born to give.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.Isaiah 61:1 ESV
This is the scripture Jesus read in the synagogue to begin his earthly ministry, and having read it he had this to say:
Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.Luke 4:21b ESV
Good news to the poor: my first thought about this went straight to a bag of money. Isn’t that what we think of when we want to give to the poor? I think of the toy drives so the impoverished children will not feel the want of their parents lack. But then I thought about the story of the Grinch and the Whos of Whoville, and the lesson learned that Christmas was more than things. I think the good news Jesus brought was value, hope, equal status among all people, and salvation without cost.
To bind up the broken hearted: my thoughts go to all who have experienced loss in all its forms. Not everyone is in a celebratory mood at Christmas; some are mourning, some are filled with hurt, some strive with finances, and some with broken or contentious relationships. Jesus brings compassion, comfort, love, healing, and a peace that passes understanding.
Liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound: I debated on putting these together for they are similar. Yet, they must have their own meaning. I think about the abused and the abuser – the abused is held captive by the abuser, who promises to change, but is bound in the prison of their minds. I think about addicts – they are both captive and bound by their addiction. We all experience the weight of sin, our own and that of those around us.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 6:23 NKJV
So what does Christ offer? Jesus brings forgiveness, redemption, freedom, reconciliation, restoration, and, yes, eternal life. He breaks the chains of sin and pays its debt. Hallelujah! Amen!
As you celebrate Christmas this year, may you look past the thoughts of only physical gifts and look to the heart of those around you. May you extend to others what Christ has extended to you with gratefulness and joy in your heart.
Grace & Peace,
P.S. Here is his message — Please accept these gifts and share them with everyone.
- equal status among all people
- salvation without cost
- peace that passes understanding
- eternal life