read: “Comfort, comfort my people! ” says your God. Speak compassionately to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her compulsory service has ended, that her penalty has been paid . . . -Isaiah 40:1,2a
reflect: We are often very stuck in the patterns that our life has made up to this point. This can be helpful in that it gives us basic routines and priorities so that every day is not recreating the wheel. Yet when it comes to ways of relating to people, how we think of ourselves, and what we imagine to be possible, the ruts we are in might as well be prison bars. Isaiah preaches the good news that God’s people are now released from their past, with whatever guilt and consequences it brought. What a relief! Could you fathom, just for a moment, what a new, fresh slate for all of your life might mean?
You don’t have to wait for someone else to give it to you. Other people may or may not be able to issue a decree of release to you. But no matter. God is the one who says you are now debt free. Why head into Christmas Day, or the New Year, or any ordinary day for that matter, without this release?
pray: Come, Lord Jesus, and help me to drop my guilt and shame so I can receive you with free hands when you get here! Amen.
with children: Play a game of hide and seek. Talk about what a relief it is when someone finds you if you’ve been hiding a long time. Remind the children that God will make sure we are always found.
act: Who could you release from a grudge you’ve been holding?