December 7, 2013

Good morning all!  Hopefully you are staying warm!

Today’s scripture:  Isaiah 40:1-5 (NRSV) –God’s People Are Comforted 
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.
4 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.”


To me, this Isaiah passage speaks of two things pretty clearly; comfort and preparation.  God calls out to comfort Jerusalem (which if you remember from a few days ago seems a bit odd because Jerusalem is the city that people have been exiled from).  God takes us out of resentment to comfort and peace.  And perhaps Advent is all about finding that comfort we are called into.


The other piece of that though is the preparation for one who is to come.  Now for Isaiah this historically would have possibly meant another king who will rule more justly (possibly Hezekiah).  It could possibly mean his son who is coming up through the priestly ranks.  It is hard for us not to hear that this is the Messiah especially when John later, in the book of John, will proclaim these words to prepare us for Jesus (that is the lectionary Gospel for today if you would like more scripture to read).  And Advent is all about preparation.  Preparation for the one who is to come who will turn our world upside down (like comforting those who we previously did not know needed comforting).


So how do we prepare?  I used the image of a cup of coffee in the morning…both comforting and preparation for the day.  There is something about holding a warm cup of liquid in the morning that refocuses, can add a layer of warmth and comfort, and can get me ready for the day.  Are you the same way?  It is a little piece of my day but it sets the tone for the day.  What if our preparation for the season was that kind of intentional and could be just that little?


How do you set the tone for the day?  Are you aware that you are doing it this season? Are you clearing your head and processing how this day will be different?  What if you did that instead of rushing through the first moments?  To just anticipate preparing makes all of the difference in my life.  By anticipating the preparation for something that is coming somehow I see different things in the world.


Now for a really fun example of preparation.  One of my favorite groups of people is a group of people called Improv Everywhere (yes, I use at least one youtube video a season because I love them and they are so writable).  They create space in everyday life to have extraordinary experiences.  One pretty simple improv that they put forward really got me to think about preparing the way in a whole different way…check it out….

Talk about someone going before Rob to prepare the way.  Talk about having to look forward to what is to come!  And talk about changed experience because of the preparation!  


May you see things differently today as you prepare.  



One Comment Add yours

  1. mathairfiona says:

    The comfort and preparation that Christians of today take during the Advent season must be very different from that of those waiting for the coming Messiah. I wonder what that was like. The Israelites had prophecies, but did not know exactly what was going to happen. We have the luxury of reviewing history to know the story. I have been reflecting on what it must have been like for Mary, Joseph, and the Three Kings to sit gazing at the Son of God. I am still considered a non-believer, but I am trying to put myself in the position of someone experiencing something as incredible as that. It is almost impossible to fathom what that would be like.

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