God has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free. (Luke 4.18)
While facing execution for his anti-Nazi activism, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote,
A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes… and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.
It’s a compelling metaphor, that’s for sure. When we consider the things that hold us captive, the fears and doubts that box us in, the worries that wrap heavy chains around our hearts, our need for a Savior becomes all too real. We can’t rescue ourselves, regardless what the self-help gurus want us to believe. We haven’t the ransom to pay for our liberty. We haven’t the superpower to disintegrate thick walls that encase us, to kick down the door and release faith that wholly relies on God’s unfettered grace.
In Luke 4.18, Jesus tells us He came to release us from captivity, to restore our sight, and free us from burdens that weigh us down. As we rehearse the story of the Babe’s arrival, waiting, hoping, let us watch expectantly for the opening of our prisons. Unhealthy attitudes, habits, and behaviors that have held us far too long will hold us no more. Fears and anxieties that overshadow us will be lifted. The door will open. We will see Christ. We will accept the invitation to live in Christ and make room for Christ to live us. We will be free.