Freedom’s Eve

bigstock-Shackles-Old-And-Well-Used-144886On December 31, 1862, the African American community, slave and freed, gathered together in great anticipation. They were waiting for the clock to strike midnight in order to seize the promise of freedom outlined in the Emancipation Proclamation, hence the name -Freedom’s Eve. The Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Lincoln declared that on New Year’s Day, January 1, 1863 all slaves would forever be free (McIntyre). Can you imagine the atmosphere that night?  What would it have been like knowing that a lifetime of hardship, suffering, forced labor, and deprivation would that very night be coming to an end? But perhaps more importantly, where did President Lincoln get such an idea—that all people deserve to be free? This truth is self-evident because our Maker created us to be free. Jesus said that freedom is the very reason He came in human form over 2000 years ago.

In Luke 4:18-19, He announces,

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

It is God’s design that you and I walk in every kind of freedom. While this certainly includes freedom from human tyranny, it also includes freedom from our own self-destructive thoughts and behaviors. What if tonight you and I could celebrate a personal Freedom’s Eve? Through Christ this is entirely possible. Ephesians 1:13, “In [Christ] you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit..” and “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom…” (2 Corinthians 3:17). We could know freedom from the unforgiveness that keeps us shackled to bitterness and hate; freedom from selfishness that keeps us locked away from the joy of generosity; freedom from overindulgence that keeps us under the bondage of compulsion; and freedom from pride that locks us away from the ability to both give and receive.

Because of Christ, we can be free.

What if 2016 could begin your own personal celebration of Freedom Day?

I am a lover of old hymns and I think this one captures the freedom message well.

Once I was bound by sin’s galling fetters;
Chained like a slave, I struggled in vain.
But I received a glorious freedom,
When Jesus broke my fetters in twain.

Glorious Freedom! Wonderful freedom!
No more in chains of sin I repine!
Jesus the glorious Emancipator—
Now and forever He shall be mine.

Freedom from all the sinful affections;
Freedom from envy, hatred and strife;
Freedom from vain and worldly ambitions;
Freedom from all that saddened my life!

Freedom from pride and all sinful follies;
Freedom from love and glitter of gold;
Freedom from evil temper and anger;
Glorious freedom, rapture untold!

Freedom from fear with all of its torments;
Freedom from care with all of its pain;
Freedom in Christ, my blessed Redeemer—
He who has rent my fetters in twain.

Glorious Freedom! Wonderful freedom!
No more in chains of sin I repine!
Jesus the glorious Emancipator—
Now and forever He shall be mine
(Lillenas).

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed…” (John 8:36).

Happy New Year!! Let the Lord’s favor rest on you this year.

You were made for it!

Lillenas, Haldor. “Glorious Freedom”. 1917. Public Domain.

McIntyre, Dean. “Watch Night of Freedom.” gbod.org. 31 Dec 2013. 31 December 2013. Web.

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