Happy Advent Wednesday to you all!
I've been in the mood for some Martina McBride all day, and I gotta say, I haven't listened to much country in a very very long time. Still, I can't even think the words Let Freedom Ring without hearing that tremendous voice.
There's a slavery issue going on in my own heart right now. I didn't realize that until I heard the call to liberation.
Because my shackles were invisible. And now that I see my own, I look around at His Beloveds and see theirs too.
It's not a pretty Advent tiding.
Not nearly as eye-popping as the umpteen email ads I wake up to every single morning.
Not as cheerful as the jingle soundtracks to the great deals at the department stores.
But it's there just the same. Our country has a slavery issue, and I'm not even talking about human trafficking.
I'm talking about our simple, complicated, overwhelming lives.
And after I have shackled myself to the gift buying, the decorating, the family time, the church commitments, the Christmas cards, my expectations- well, it's no wonder I feel torn. Perhaps you feel that way too. A slave to your calendar, budget, baking.
Shackled to the good, forfeiting the best.
I've been wanting to write encouraging stuff. It's the Christmas season, people! Holly, jolly, very merry Christmas joy! This stuff that you put on my heart, Lord, it isn't really where I saw this blog going in December. Could you lighten it up a bit?
Remind them of their freedom.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
All the pretty shackles we use to decorate our hands and hearts and minds-
He came to free us from those.
The ways we would define our lives, portray ourselves to others-
He came to free us from those too.
The despair we would feel when we walk from our freedom straight back into a cell of our own making-
Yeah, He came for that too.
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;
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
The coming of our Lord is a celebration of more than Christmas.
It's our Independence Day.
God signed a holy declaration in the little bundle of His Son:
"Yeah, this is happening."
There would be battles to be waged and won, but God's resolution was clear from the beginning.
He would see it through.
So those of us poor spirits in need of hope would hear the Good News.
So those of us brokenhearted would burst from the shackles of brokenness and be bound by the Heart Healer.
So those of us held in captivity to all manners of masters would be carried into the fresh air of absolute freedom.
So those of us mourners would be comforted and adorned with true, everlasting love.
So those of us fainthearted would celebrate and praise our Lord, that He may be glorified.
I'm feasting on that right now. Before I go plan and clean and, cook and bake, I feast. I feast on His Word, and on His presence. I pause like an inmate realizing the cell door has been left open. That the warden is here not just to lead me to liberty, but to carry me there Himself because honestly, I'm pretty used to this little cell.
But what lies beyond the bars is so amazing. It's life giving.
Now that is an Advent tiding worth sharing.
Praying that you are given the gift of pause today. Praying that those shackles on your life are not only recognized, but handed over fully to the Only One who can bear their weight. Have a beautiful day of freedom.