A Prison Christmas Story
On Sunday 4th December, I officiated at Brisbane Correctional Centre’s four services. I noted that the units coming that day would not have another service until after Christmas. During my prayerful preparation, the Holy Spirit led me to Luke chapter 2:8-14, the story of Jesus’ birth and the angelic announcement to the shepherds: “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” I explained to the men that God’s heart was bursting with joy at the birth of His son, and like us when our child is born God wanted to share this good news. He chose humble shepherds minding their flocks out in the field at night. I asked the men to recall how they had felt when their child was born; they then shared with everyone their happiness and excitement when their son or daughter had been born, and how they had wanted to share their child’s birth with others. It had been the same for the Father at the birth of His son. This angel who spoke to the shepherds was soon followed by a great company of angels praising God and declaring, “Peace and good will toward mankind.” In one of the services, I asked the sixteen men to stand in a circle and hold hands. I said it was important that we remember their family members during this season, and I asked them to say their names aloud as I prayed a prayer of blessing over them, specifically for Christmas day. As I stood praying, I could hear the men speaking out the names of their loved ones. Sitting down, many of the men were visibly touched by the sweet presence of the Lord and were wiping away the tears. I somehow knew that the Lord had heard those names and He would extend His peace and good will to many children and wives/partners that wouldn’t have their Dad or husband with them on Christmas day.