Best Christmas Ever…? Hope for the Wounded
Speaker: Dr Jon Lovelady | Series: Best Christmas Ever…?
Merry Christmas! We hope this is shaping up to be the “Best Christmas Ever!” You will have plenty of opportunity for worship on Christmas Eve. The morning service message will be “Hope for the Wounded,” and the evening service will be “Awake to the Wonder!” (Based upon Luke 2:1-20,the story of Jesus’ birth.) As we have gone through this Christmas season, we have focused on the writings from the prophet Isaiah. On Christmas Eve morning, we will turn to Isaiah 61:1-7. This is a beautiful and emotionally powerful passage. It is the passage that Jesus uses to start his ministry, yet it shows us the impact of the Christ Child who was born in a humble stable. We all have experienced wounds in our lives that no one can see. Jesus was born to minister to the suffering of human existence. Imagine how the story would be different if Jesus had been born in a palace! We might find it hard to connect with such privilege and prestige. Jesus came into the human story at the lowest position, so all people would know God’s love for them was not dependent upon their position in this world. God has great sympathy for the wounded and Isaiah 61:1-7 tells of the healing ministry of the coming Messiah. As you prepare for Christmas, read these words and allow them to give you hope, that you can find a greater wholeness in your life because of Christmas Day and the birth of our Savior! Isaiah 61:1-7:The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because theLORD 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. Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. (NIV)