Sunday, December 4, 2011

Advent Devotion: Second Sunday of Advent

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Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to
Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
the rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Comfort, comfort……


Today’s readings on the Second Sunday of Advent bring two distinct, but related messages:  one is a word of comfort; the other, a message to repent, to wake up and get our lives together.  Which message do we need to hear?

In the first reading, a word of comfort is spoken to a devastated Jerusalem, many of whose citizens are in exile.  God’s word comforts His people.  The time of punishment (the Exile) is ended.  A new era is about to begin.  God is coming with power.  A way must be prepared for Him.  The God who comes with power also comes with tenderness, like a shepherd lovingly caring for His flock and carrying the very young in His arms.

John the Baptizer heralds the coming of the Messiah with the call to turn our lives around.  Repentance is an ancient nautical term, originally used to describe the turning around of a large ship.  Turning a sailing vessel around takes time and skill.  Done in haste, the ship can go under.  But John is unrelenting with his call to make way for the One who is coming to save us.

Which message do we most need to hear this day?  The word of comfort or the word to straighten out our lives?

If you are living in spiritual exile, let God’s word comfort you and bring you home.

If your life is a mess and you need to straighten some things out, call on the power of God to save and guide you.

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