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In our Advent series starting Sunday 29th November, we are going to unpack Isaiah 61:1-3 in some detail. The festivals of the Christian calendar are great times to draw breath, to step back, to explore the big themes of scripture and what God is doing in our world.

When we come to Advent it is a time of waiting – waiting in the presence of God as we remind ourselves of just how amazing it was that the God of the universe should shrink himself into becoming a vulnerable infant: a baby who cries and laughs like any ordinary child; an infant who is so dependent upon his human parents; and yet a baby who will be born with the shadow of a cross over him from his first breath until his last.

Through the tinsel and dazzle of Christmas one can’t help but sense that the events in that stable 2000 plus years ago had huge implications for the human race. As the prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of a saviour we will see Him breaking in. Breaking in – to bring good news to the poor, offering life in the midst of death and mourning, setting captives free, shining light into dark places and bringing justice to the despairing.

We will explore these great themes over the weeks leading up to Christmas Day. As we turn into a new year we will discover what it means to be an “oak of righteousness”.

In it all we will see Jesus breaking in to our world to bring hope. And my goodness we are surely in days when we need to hear about hope.