The 13th Amendment & Christmas

This morning, in church, I couldn’t stop thinking about ‘Lincoln’ (the movie I saw last night).  I couldn’t stop thinking about how it must have felt – to be a slave back in the 1800s and hear the news that you were free.

It’s hard for me to comprehend the joy that must have rushed through their hearts; the celebration that would have seized slaves everywhere.

And that makes me a little sad.

Because I should be able to comprehend that joy.  It’s my joy in Christmas.13th

I was a slave after all.  And not just my body being forced to work for someone else – but my very spirit, my very soul was a slave to sin.  Every day I woke up enslaved to fear and need.  I would work every minute of every day to try to fight for life and love and security and control, and the battle was futile.  I would fall asleep afraid in the deepest parts of my soul; terrified of being rejected, terrified of being forgotten, terrified of being insignificant and disappearing into death.

And that’s how all of us lived before Christ: slaves to our deepest fears.

And then an angel appeared to some guys on a hill, (who were slaves as well), and told them about our 13th Amendment.  The angel told them that God was going to deliver us from slavery and sin and death.

Isn’t it tragic that Abraham Lincoln seems like more of a hero than Jesus?  Isn’t it devastating that the joy the slaves felt as they heard the great news 150 years ago is so much deeper than the joy we feel at this anniversary of a promise fulfilled?

Things didn’t change over night for the slaves.  A declaration of freedom didn’t necessarily make people feel free the next morning.  I’m sure – for many of them – their lives didn’t feel any different because of the 13th Amendment.

The same is true for us this Christmas.  If I’m honest, a lot of days I feel discouraged because I still feel like a slave.  I still feel like a slave to loneliness and fear and jealousy and unbelief.

But I’m not.

No matter how the world around me appears.  No matter what people tell me.  No matter what Satan shouts as he cracks his whip like he still owns me.  No matter what seems true, I am free.

Every September 11th, we remember.  Every July 4th, we celebrate.  We look backwards to make sure we don’t forget how we got where we are today.

Christmas is the anniversary of the greatest decree that has ever been heard by human ears:

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11 ESV)

2000 years ago a new amendment came into the world.  God declared us free from fear; free from sin and death.

Lift your weary hands and prepare room in your heart for a King who has both the power and the passion to set you free.

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