‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.’ (Luke 1:68)
If I take a gold ring or a camera or something else that’s valuable to a pawnbroker he might give me some money for it as a loan. That item will stay in his possession and if I want it back, I will need to redeem it by paying back the loan (along with the interest!)
That’s what redemption means, it means buying back something that’s in someone else’s possession.
You and I are in someone else’s possession. We are held captive by death. Death is the penalty for our sin. Of course, we don’t like to talk about it. And we do all we can to fight against it. But death is all around us. Our friends and loved ones die. Pets die. The flowers in our gardens die. We don’t like to think about it too much because it quickly gets too depressing.
But we don’t need to feel that way because Jesus came to redeem us from death’s grasp on us. Because he loves us so much, he came to buy us back from death’s hold over us and give us life: real, wonderful, joy-filled life. It’s God’s gift to us. And we can receive it by putting our trust in this little baby who was born on that first Christmas Day.