First Sunday of Advent: Nov. 27

Isa. 40:1-8

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.

Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term,

             that her penalty is paid,

            that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:

            “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD,

            make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low;

the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.


Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,

            and all people shall see it together,

                        for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”


A voice says, “Cry out!”

And I said, “What shall I cry?”

            All people are grass,

                         their constancy is like the flower of the field.

             The grass withers, the flower fades,

                        when the breath of the LORD blows upon it;

                        surely the people are grass.

             The grass withers, the flower fades;

                        but the word of our God will stand forever.


             from Rev. Dr. Sharon E. Watkins, General Minister and President

            On a recent bicycle trip, I wished for the valleys to be lifted up and mountains made low! When you’re travelling under your own steam, the lay of the land becomes important.

            In this passage, travelling under their own steam has gotten God’s people lost in the wilderness of life.  They’ve travelled far away from God. But God has not forgotten them. 

            Here the Holy One speaks a word of comfort and of hope. A straight, smooth highway will be opened up and the people will find their way back home to the glory of life in God.

            Circumstances of life – and sometimes our own stubborn fault – can get us into difficult terrain. But God does not forget us. God offers us comfort and hope and a way back home.

 Dear God, in this Advent season, remind us that you are near,
and that the way back to you is always open.