By Bradley Robertson
O Holy Night has been a favorite holiday tune of mine for years. I listen to multiple versions every Christmas season and the words fill my soul with deeper and deeper meaning each year.
And each year, the Lord moves me and molds me with a new heart on which to see His people. I look to this every December. I cling to His story and the great love He lavished on all of us.
This year, like all others, my eyes have been opened. I have received glimpses of greatness as well as seedlings of the small details in God’s work.
The truth is, there is weary and hurt and sorrow all around us in this Joyful season. And we often separate ourselves from the weak, as to not damper our own light of Happiness. We prefer the comfort and safety of our own lives.
However, how can one truly feel the Hope of the Lord of we don’t first see despair?
I visited the Lee County prison recently as part of a prison ministry in my church. Our group is made up mostly of women, and we serve the men and women being detained here locally.
We enter the building and walk through the brick chambers and concrete floors through multiple locked heavy doors, past guards, past inmates and into a room, we are allowed to use to show these people who the Lord is.
So, we show up. We deliver smiles along with a few goodies they’re allowed to take back to their cell.
Pen, envelopes and paper for writing notes. A sudoku or cross-word to pass the time. Maybe a book of their choice to read. And cards passed out by a tiny white-headed lady in her old age, skimming through the collection in the hopes of sharing something sweet for a human being held inside their mistake.
I told them each Merry Christmas and made sure to shake their hands. There is something holy in human touch. It reminds us we are the same. Warm skin, created by the Lord, with a beating heart and a soul placed in each of us.
I know nothing of any person that walks into our mission. I don’t need to. Would it change if I saw the record for which they are being held account? Would it put fear in me and drive me to step away?
Probably. I don’t want to know. In the same way, I’d rather not the world know my mistakes and misfortune.
These men and women show up on their own accord. They are not required to visit with us, but it is a choice. We always tell them thank you for choosing to come. There are many who do not, but for the ones who come, they are living up to find love.
One of our group members does a bible lesson with them each session. They hear the word of the Lord and receive a prayer upon leaving. In their tattered white, ghostly uniforms and shabby hair and scars, they are given grace. In their space of weakness, they are given hope.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many…” -Mark 10:45
These words are spoken aloud in the middle of hard walls and hardened hearts. Ransom. For many. My eyes well in this round, cold room. Not just for the men in front of me, but for my own soul, saved, with a cost.
God sent himself. For me. For prisoners. For the helpless. For the homeless. For the hungry. For the poor. For the saints and the sinners. For all.
“A thrill of Hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morning.”
We rejoice in the Hope of a baby. We celebrate the birth of the one who saves us all. Love came down, from a God who cares.
How will you share the Hope of Christ this season? I encourage to reach for the weary. Find a space that appears hopeless and feel the filling of hope.
And when Christmas day arrives, your soul will be filled and you’ll hear the angles voices.
Merry Christmas friends!
Bradley Robertson is a local mother, wife and creative. She’s an Auburn University graduate, loves good food and getting outside with her family. Bradley enjoys feature writing, as well as southern culture and lifestyle writing.