Last night we celebrated Christmas at The Crossing. It was a powerful moment to see how people responded to different parts of our time together. One of the most powerful moments was when the band let loose on “O Holy Night.” I’m reminded again why this is the favorite Christmas carol of many people, including my wife.
A new phrase jumped out to me as we were singing and I stopped singing just to chew on this phrase for the rest of the song:
“Chains He shall break for the slave is our brother and in His Name all oppression shall cease.”
The imagery of slavery and chains is a powerful idea, especially since there are more slaves in our world today than there have ever been in the course of history. Preteen girls, young boys, the weak and the vulnerable, and the innocent young are kidnapped or sold then carted like cattle to cities like Bangkok, Beijing, and Singapore where their own versions of hell wait for them. The sex slave industry is a massive force of evil whose reach doesn’t stop at the borders of the United States as Los Angeles, Seattle, and Miami are some of the major gateways for sex slaves to be brought into the U.S.
The forced labor of refugees and immigrants to the U.S. is another quiet terror that’s being swept under the rug. These are people without hope as they’re blackmailed into continued work or face being turned over to immigration authorities. It’s still the ugliness and injustice of slavery with a verbally aesthetic shroud plastered on the front.
The physical terror of slavery is just a fraction of the spiritual slavery that billions are facing across the world. If you look into their eyes, you can see an emptiness that they’re revealing. Hope is lost and joy is gone. All of us have been slaves to sin, the brokenness of the human heart. It shows up in our slavery to addictions, being workaholics, eating disorders, destroying relationships, hatred for each other, wars, and even our debt.
Christ is the only hope for freedom. He has broken the chains on our souls and we’re the ones content with tangling ourselves in them again. From the physical slave to the spiritual one, there’s freedom in Christ’s work through us as His Church. We may never fully break the terrors of physical slavery this side of heaven but no man can chain the heart of another. The beauty of Christmas today is that we can share about a Rescuer who can break any chains and rescue the soul which lasts forever.
May your Christmas today be about your freedom in Christ and the release of more because of it.