(Author's Note: The final day of the semester has arrived so, as is my custom, I will be taking a break from writing. WftW will return on January 14th. May you have a blessed and wonderful Christmas and New Year! Jim)
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach 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 gladness 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.” (Isaiah 61:1-3 NIV).
Depression at and around Christmas is more common than at any other time of the year. Suicide rates are at their highest in December. It is ironic that around the time the world is celebrating the birth of a Savior, people are the most depressed. That probably tells us something about the Christmas holidays. The “good news” the angels declared on that winter’s night long ago has been lost for many in our celebration.
What Isaiah proclaimed, Jesus declared He had fulfilled in His coming (Luke 4). It is indeed good news! Healing of the brokenhearted. Freedom for the captives and a release for the prisoners held in darkness. Justice coming to the unjust. Comfort and provision for those who mourn. A lifting up of those who are bent over in despair.
As I write, I can think of people who really need to grasp this good news, people whose hearts have been broken by how they were treated as children; people who are held captive by addictions; others who are prisoners held by the darkness of their own hearts; those who are beaten down by injustices in this fallen world; and those who are grieving the loss of someone dear to them.
It is particularly for these, those who desperately need some good news, which Jesus came into the world, our world. He didn’t, however, just make an appearance; He lived a life, a hard and difficult life. He experienced much of the darkness of this world and its effects. He understands the struggles of this life. (Hebrews 4:15-16) The good news is He has overcome them! By clinging to Him, He will bring us through every struggle and set us free from all that holds us captive. This is the essence of the news the angels brought to the shepherds that night.
This Christmas season, as we celebrate the birth of a Savior, remember the good news that accompanied His arrival. It is the ultimate cure for any depression.
© Jim Musser 2013