The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
They shall build up the ancient ruins,
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.
A Commitment to Help by Joey
One of my fondest memories of the advent season growing up is of packing onion bags full of donated food in our church’s basement to be delivered during the Christmas season to families in need. As I’ve gotten older though, direct service has become less and less of a habit. Service during the Christmas season is often a familiar and joyful experience for many Christians. Let us reflect upon the reading today and recommit ourselves to helping those who are less fortunate.
Lord, may we recommit or continue to be of service to the poor. Let us always show our love to others through our actions and our deeds. May our works seek to alleviate suffering, lift up the poor and help free all people who are in captivity. Whether they are incarcerated or held captive by addiction or poverty, let us ease their suffering and help them rebuild their lives.
In this season, let us not forget the systemic nature of poverty. The desolations of many generations cannot be rebuilt with a few hours or a single day of service. We must also seek to empower leaders who will repair our ruined neighborhoods. May we empower those who will work day in and day out to rebuild the ruined cities and create beauty in their midst.