Advent 11/30/22 Sacred Time

Living in Sacredness
Wednesday, November 30

Isaiah 40:1-8 (NRSV)

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 flesh 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 flesh is 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.

The people of Israel had prayed for deliverance from Babylon, and it was accomplished by God. Now, as in our yearly celebration of Advent, was the time for the Israelites to look forward expectantly – to do the work to prepare for the coming of the Lord. The author is overwhelmed by this call: the people are “fragile” and cannot be relied on. We, of course, share these characteristics with the Israelites and can feel unprepared and unequipped for the preparation we need to do.

In this passage, God makes clear that a critical piece of preparation is receiving the gift of God’s forgiveness that makes us whole. To believe this revolutionary concept that, “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12 New Living Translation). With the foundation of a right relationship with God, we need to enter into a time of hopeful expectancy and preparation.

As we travel through our yearly advent journey, we can prepare for the coming of Christ again this Christmas by living in the sacredness of this wandering, this expedition toward uniting with Christ. The sacred often frightens us as mysterious and something we cannot access as sinners, but we have all participated in sacred moments – the birth of a child, comforting a dying friend, giving food to someone who is hungry – as a sacred moment is simply when God’s presence makes the everyday occurrences in our lives holy. As you look forward to the culmination of advent in the birth of our Savior, approach this sacred moment with confidence that as sinners we can join in this sacred celebration as forgiven, whole children of God.

-Becca Head

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