DAY 8 • DECEMBER 20
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.
“For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed.” I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.
Isaiah wrote this in a period where renewal after exile seemed impossible, or at best improbable. However, this passage sows seeds of hope in every word. It gives us hope that our lives will make a difference in the world around us. It allows us to hope that as we reach out, God reaches down to repair the desolation around us. We can have hope that there is a future that is good. It offers us hope that how we see ourselves now is not how we appear to God. How appropriate that this text was the very passage that Jesus used in his first public sermon in Luke 4. It not only outlines Jesus’ mission, it is also descriptive of ours, if we are to be like Christ. The mission of the Kingdom of God is restoration and renewal. Isaiah prophesied it. Jesus fulfilled it in his life. We are called to follow in His steps. We are to carry the same seeds of hope to the world around us.
Thank God that for the hope that he offers. Praise him for any areas of your life where he has brought restoration and/or healing.
Spend a few moments in silence before God. If there are any areas of your life where you are feeling hopeless, present these to God. Then listen for his voice and anything he has to say about these things.
Pray that God would bring hope and restoration to our world in this season and in the upcoming year. If there are any particular places, people, or circumstances that come to mind that need God’s hope and healing, bring these before him.
Tonight, take a walk in the dark and admire the Christmas lights of your neighbors (or drive to another neighborhood and enjoy their lights). Use this experience as a physical reminder of the hope that the light of Christ brings to our darkened world. As you walk, pray that God’s hope and healing would be a work in the lives of your neighbors.
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