“The Spirit of the Lord God is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of our God’s vengeance; to comfort all who mourn…” Isaiah 61:1-2
The holidays are a time where emotions seem to be at their height. For some of us, we anticipate family getting together, food, and of course giving or receiving gifts. There are those of us, however, who view the holidays at a different level.
The holidays can be somber. They can also be a lonely reminder of our struggles or losses. How do we get through these seasons or help those struggling during the holidays? We remember, and we anticipate.
During the time when Isaiah penned these words in Isaiah 61, it was approximately 700 years before the birth of the Messiah. It would be about 730 years until Jesus himself read these words fulfilling the very prophecy Isaiah had written. The people were anticipating a Savior. Though they didn’t fully grasp what this Savior would do for them, these very words show us that He proclaims good news to the poor, He heals the brokenhearted, He brings liberty to the captives, and He frees the prisoners.
When Jesus came, He fulfilled these very promises by dying on the cross for us. Though we have to endure a sin-filled world, because of Christ, we have a hope that is beyond this world. We remember the promises of these words and various promises in Scriptures, and we hold fast to them.
We also anticipate. The story didn’t end with Jesus’ ascension into heaven; instead, He gives us the promise of His return (Revelation 22:12). Are we living in anticipation of Christ’s return? Are we living as a people of anticipation? When things are difficult, remember what Christ has done, and remember His promises. Remember He is coming again. Let’s live in anticipation and celebration of this throughout the holidays.
Father, thank You for sending Your Son to die on the cross for me, so I can live redeemed with the living hope that Jesus is coming again. Though this world can be sad and discouraging, it isn’t forever. Thank you for healing, for bringing good news, and liberty for captives. I praise You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
What does anticipating Christ’s return look like to you? Spend time in Isaiah 61 this week. What does this mean as we celebrate the Christmas season?