December 3, 2010, First Friday of Advent
Scripture: Isaiah 61:1-3
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
When Jesus preached in his hometown of Nazareth, it was this passage that Jesus read. There was a reason behind this selection. It foretold of the type of earthly ministry the Messiah will undertake. Jesus came to preach good news to the poor, that the captives will be set free, and that the day of the Lord’s favor has come.
It was an important passage for Jesus, as it should be for us today. We have a special calling, as Christians, to proclaim the message of God’s love for the poor, the captive, the prisoner, and the mourner. Matthew 25 takes this a step further as Christ says that when we serve the poor, the captive, the prisoner, and the mourner that we are actually serving Christ Jesus.
In this time of Advent, there are many whom this season does not come with joy. Perhaps they have struggled all year to find a job to pay the bills. For some, this season is a reminder that they are no longer with that loved one, or maybe even a reminder of their own loneliness. While we live in a season of expectation, we have to remember that this is not a season of expectation for all, but a season of reminder of hurts and pains.
This Advent let us live in the expectation of the season by proclaiming God’s love to those whom hurt, to the poor, and to the captive. Maybe that means donating our time at one of the many missions in the area. It could also be a time to call on a friend who may be lonely this season. Whatever it may be, let us not ignore our call to proclaim this special love for the least of these this season.
Lord, we thank you that you have not ignored the poor, the captive, and the hurting. Be with those who are poor, are held captive, and hurt this season. May your love shape us this season. Amen.