The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has appointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to announce that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.
Isaiah 61:1 (NLT)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor who resisted the Nazi leadership during World War II. He was arrested and imprisoned by Hitler who ordered Bonhoeffer’s execution on April 9, 1945, shortly before the end of the war. During his imprisonment, he wrote letters to his fiancee and family. In a letter to his fiancee, Maria von Wedemeyer, dated November 21, 1943, he writes of one lesson learned from life in prison.:
“A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes, does various unessential things, 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.”2
We are prisoners as well. We are imprisoned in cells not made by concrete walls and steel bars. We are held captive by the nature and power of sin. And like all prison cells, there is no handle on the inside. No efforts, no matter how sincere or ingenious, can open the lock. Just like Bonhoeffer’s cell, it has to be opened from the outside.
That is what God did. He sent Jesus to do for us what we were incapable of doing for ourselves. He sent His Son to unlock the prison door, to fling it open and free us for new and abundant life.
Advent is the rattling of keys. It is the turning of the lock’s tumblers. It is the hope of freedom. It is the promise of the fresh wind of the Spirit rushing into our cells and making all things new.
This Advent, listen. What you think might only be the jingling of bells is really the Key of life turning the lock to set you free.
Our prison cells can be stifling. Robbing us of hope and joy. Come and fling open the doors once again. Free us this Advent season to worship you and live for You all year long.
In the liberating name of Jesus, Amen