December 10 – News of Comfort

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December 10 – News of Comfort

In a time of preparation, much of it having to do with material things, it is good to hear the words of Isaiah, “Comfort, give comfort to my people, / says your God” (Isaiah 40:1). In a time of such stress and rush, when our usual burdens are augmented by piles of Christmas preparations, we can choose to slow down, take some time to heal, and appreciate the enormous gift we are about to receive. Christ, the Son of God, has become one of us, and knows our human limitations. Yet God, even now, is freeing us from the burdens that our inattentiveness to our God and to our deepest inner longings have heaped upon us. The Lord comes, not as a king with mighty armies, but as a shepherd leading the flocks with care and tenderness. Isaiah prophesies good news: our oppression is over, our sins forgiven. The savior we have awaited is coming, not the first time, but in the end times, as our salvation.

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December 3 – God Has a Different Plan

We begin the season of Advent with a heartfelt call for our own repentance. We remember God’s faithful love for us, and call upon God to help us to turn back. For “behold, you are angry, and we are sinful” (Isaiah 64:4). In the first reading and in the psalm, we recall God’s promises and lament our unfaithfulness and our guilt. We call upon God’s might and power in order to save us. With Isaiah, we ask God to “rend the heavens and come down, / with the mountains quaking before you” (Isaiah 63:19). Yes, God is faithful to us, because we are the work of God’s hands. God is the potter, we are the clay. And yet, our concept of how God will come to save us is rooted in our own expectations of a warrior God who crushes mountains and thunders into our lives with great noise and glory. But God has a different plan: the Incarnation.

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