DayBreaks for 12/12/19: Immanuel in Confinement
Condensed from Today’s Christian, 2006:
“Locked behind the razor-wire fences of a Florida prison is no place to spend a holiday. I’d spent 15 Christmases under these less-than-festive conditions, but this year my situation looked even bleaker. I was stuck in confinement—a prison inside a prison where the supposed troublemakers are sent. In reality, anyone can find himself in the hole by irritating the wrong person.
“Because I was going to be locked in a cell 24 hours a day through Christmas, I figured nothing memorable could happen. Beyond a five-minute shower three times weekly, there wasn’t much to look forward to.
“In a way, that Christmas was like the first Christmas 2,000 years ago. Most people went about their lives paying bills, cooking dinner, traveling to and fro. A few shepherds working the late-night shift got a spectacular celestial show from some angels who proclaimed, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and good will to men! (Luke 2:14). And some wise men, eastern Magi, had begun their journey to Jerusalem looking for someone called “The King of the Jews.” But for the rest of the world, it was just another day. No holiday music, no discount sales, no trees with lights.
“Christmas night in confinement, alone in my cell, I read in my Bible about Paul and Silas, who were also inside a prison. Despite their miserable predicament, they were praying and singing hymns to God while the other prisoners listened.
“The lights went out and I stared at the ceiling from my bunk, wondering if I could praise God in the midst of my circumstances. I could hear a mouse nibbling on some crackers I left out for him. Then suddenly I heard a voice come out of the vent above the toilet. It was Andrew in the next cell. “Merry Christmas, Roy,” he said.
“Merry Christmas, Andrew,” I replied.
“Do you know any Christmas songs?” Andrew asked.
“Yeah, I know a few.”
“I’ll sing one if you’ll sing one,” he said.
“What should we sing?”
“Joy to the World.” And he sang every verse. I sang the chorus with him. Then it was my turn and I chose “Silent Night.” Then he sang “O Come All Ye Faithful,” and I answered with “Feliz Navidad.”
“I have another song,” Andrew said, and sang “O Holy Night.” Silence filled the quad as everyone listened. It was a moment I’ll never forget. It not only reminded me of Paul and Silas, but it made me realize every day is Christmas when God has arrived. It wasn’t just another day, and I wasn’t alone. Emmanuel was in confinement with me, in my cell, blessing me.
Galen’s Thoughts: We often hear of people finding Christ in prison. Some of the conversions are, no doubt, real and some may be merely machinations intended to curry some form of favor from the powers that be. There is no doubt in my mind, however, that Christ can indeed be found behind prison walls, in hospital wards and every other place that humans can be found. Christ goes to places of confinement to bless others.
It was when He was in the flesh that He himself was in confinement…in a body that He Himself made. He was captive in flesh and bone…for the same reason that He can be found in prison cells…so that He can bring blessing to us in our human confinement.
PRAYER: Jesus, thank you for enduring confinement in human flesh to bring us the blessing of eternity. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>