“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” –Isaiah 1:17

The word ‘selah’ throughout Scripture is used as an exclamation mark at the end of a verse to help us pause and reflect on its meaning. Today, in day seven of our Christmas devotional series we are resting on Isaiah 1:17. Selah.

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Seeking Justice: Who are my Christmas Elves?

by Amanda Viviers

As a mum of two small children, I am either picking up clothes off the floor, washing said clothes or hanging clothes out to dry. Children’s clothing features in most of my day.

Picking up, washing, hanging up, putting away, fighting over clothes selection, worrying whether they will be warm enough, trying to remember what school clothing day it is, looking for ballet shoes, cleaning running shoes, stitching up the knees of school pants...

The list goes on.

A few years ago, I visited the country of India and I watched mums doing the washing dance, the same as I did in my every day. However, our local guide reminded us that, in India, one of the greatest needs for justice was in the child trafficking that happened to fill the factories making products for our western lifestyle.

Amid the hurrying and list making, it is easy to get lost in the noise of the season, rather than reframing the why of Christmas consumerism.

It’s expected that we give gifts—but don’t we have a duty to ask where those gifts come from?

Isaiah 1:17 implores us to learn to do right. It is a call to education, understanding and asking ourselves tough questions.

“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”

—Isaiah 1:17

Enacting justice is not just about living a good life, without sin. We are asked throughout Scripture to not only do acts of justice, but to seek out ways to restore brokenness, in Christ.

This passage in Isaiah draws us to a place of restoration. To advocate for the those who are oppressed. To take up causes and plead the case of those who are forgotten.

In that moment in India, surrounded by mothers making clothes for my children, justice called my heart into action.

“Who made my clothes?”

“Who is making my children’s toys this Christmas?”

“And most importantly, is child labour in the supply chain of my purchases this Christmas?”

Three simple questions, with potentially devastating answers.

Today as we prepare to remember and celebrate Christ entering our world, may we reflect upon the reasons for our purchases this Christmas. May we pray and speak up for justice and resolution.

Let’s ask tough questions about the supply chains and the places that we buy presents this year. As we resolve not to look away and instead hold manufacturers accountable for their factory conditions, together we can change the culture of child labour.

Dear Jesus,

Break my heart for what breaks yours. Teach me to walk with steps of justice. Give me the courage to help in ways that bring your restoration, for every generation and every nation.


Amanda Viviers

Amanda Viviers is the Narrative Lead at Compassion and author of 12 books on creativity, faith, and the power of your stories. The co-founder of Kinwomen, a radio program that starts conversations that matter. Wife of Charl and mum of Maximus and Liberty, she loves to help people find their voice.

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At the Table Conversation Starter:

What does the word justice mean for you and your house?

Let’s pilgrimage together in our consumer journey and how we spend our money with compassion this Christmas.

Advent Compassion Challenge:

Buying ethical Christmas gifts is easier than you think! We have plenty for you to choose from, right here in the Gifts of Compassion catalogue.

Empower parents of Compassion sponsored children with job skills to start their own small business that supplies an income. As many parents have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, your gift will help families get back on their feet and work towards becoming financially self-sufficient, equipping them with business skills and income generation training.

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