Readings for the Second Sunday of Advent
Peace be with you!
Road construction is annoying, dangerous, and sometimes impossible. Last week I visited a friend in Tampa, and my personal caregiver and I drove back late at night. There was lot of road construction along I-75 northbound with crews working under bright lights, which blinded my personal caregiver and me. Each time we transitioned between the bright white lights and complete darkness, dangerously, our eyes had to readjust. Despite the risks it can sometimes pose, road construction serves a long-term purpose: to make the road safer and better at a future date. It takes time to plan and build roads that fit the traffic patterns of an area.
Prophet Isaiah cries out to the Lord to comfort the Israelites (Isaiah 40:1). No matter the route the Israelites took from Babylon back to Judea, the journey required physical and emotional endurance.
“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” (Isaiah 40:3-5 NRSV).
The Israelites have to prepare themselves before reentering the Promised Land. They have to change their ways by repenting of their sins through sacrifices and through following the Lord’s commandments. This requires the Israelites to examine themselves to see what is important in their lives.
No one enjoys dealing with strong and cumbersome emotions, which can derail even a strong person in moments of tragedy. As I have said in the past, I have had my share of tragedy this fall with the deaths of two grandparents and with other personal issues. I have had to change anxiety medication and find a new counselor to help me name the issues affecting my life. There have been days this past fall where if I completed two simple tasks, such as grocery shopping and making dinner, I called it a success. Cumbersome emotions take a lot of energy out of you and can bog you down.
As I deal with my cumbersome emotions, I hear John the Baptist echoing Isaiah’s words, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Mark 1:3b). How do you prepare for the Lord’s arrival into a world where there is pain, corruption, hate, and war? The only way is to continue to live out the good news of Jesus Christ—his forgiveness, love, and grace. God still has work to do in the world. He still needs to shine his light into the darkness. In a world where pain, corruption, hate, and war are threatening to overrun us, we are his light. We share the Lord’s light by living according to his ways and by sharing the good news with everyone we meet. In doing so, we spread hope that God has something else planned for us—that this world is just a part of his greater plan. This world with its pain, corruption, hatred, and war will fall away and give way to his new creation where we will not perish but have eternal life. This all starts with a baby boy lying in a manger. This is where we find hope.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for sending John the Baptist to show us the way to you. Help us to work through our cumbersome emotions, so we can walk in your light. Guide us as we shine your light into your world. Thank you for giving us hope in the darkness. Amen.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- What kinds of cumbersome emotions are you holding onto?
- Where do you find hope?