It is week three of Advent and we finally get to rejoice. Hooray! Everyone else has been rejoicing since Thanksgiving. There have been parties, carols, movies, & television specials; all of which have been rejoicing while we focused on hope and peace. Not that there’s anything wrong with hope and peace, it’s just that rejoicing is so much more fun. In fact, rejoicing is so much fun that we can get distracted and forget to do the important things that need to be done.
Our reading this week focuses on a very specific type of rejoicing. It is the joy that comes from knowing that no matter how bad things are now they are going to get better.
‘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 brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ Isaiah 61:1-2a
It is no great secret that the world we are living in needs some good news for the oppressed. And while the Christmas season brings out the best in many people, on December 26 life goes back to normal and normal needs some major overhauling. I read this passage and can only think of all the work that still needs to be done; the binding up and releasing, the comforting and nurturing, and above all the proclaiming of God’s justice to come on earth. There’s a lot of work involved in our rejoicing. Maybe that’s why we have to take a few weeks to work up to it.
In spite of everything, I do believe that the vision of the prophet Isaiah can be a reality. I believe that with hard work and determination we can bring good news to this world. I can see a world where people are treated with respect no matter who they are. I can see a world where everyone is safe and fed. I can see a world where people work together for the common good. We’re not there yet, but I can see it and it brings me joy. We can’t give up and we can’t stop working toward that goal. We’re almost there.
‘There’s been trials and tribulations
You know I’ve had my share
But I’ve climbed the mountain, I’ve crossed the river
And I’m almost there, I’m almost there
I’m almost there!’
Tiana “The Princess & the Frog”