In many respects, 2014 has been a dark year.  One tragedy after the other has befallen Americans while our brothers and sisters around the world endure hunger, starvation, persecution and even martyrdom for their beliefs, all unimaginable in America.  

    ‘Where have you been, Lord,’ we ask, ‘where were you this year?’  
    ‘I am with you all days,’ Jesus replies, without hesitation.  
    ‘We’ve already had our winter of our discontent,’ we quip.  
    ‘I give you Advent readings to lift you up out of the deep so that you may     return to me,’ he responds.  ‘Unlike ordinary words that plod and trod, my words skip and dance, they sing and shout joyfully that I am at hand as your Emmanuel.  Go to them for comfort, for consolation.’  

Isaiah, Our Companion and Other Advent Verses

Isaiah predicts the advent of the Messiah in soaring poetry, captured so beautifully in George Friedrich Händel’s oratorio, “Messiah.” Isaiah expresses the profound longings of the heart.  In part two of his book, this “the fifth evangelist,” boldly cries out: “Here is your God!  He comes to save us!”  The following verses come mostly from Isaiah and are here presented as a way of lifting up the reader throughout Advent. Even for a minute in the midst of a busy day, we can ponder one at a time.

1.    “Behold, the Lord comes to save his people; blessed are those prepared to meet him.”
2.    “Behold, the Lord will come descending with splendor to visit his people with peace, and he will bestow on them eternal life.”
3.    “The Lord is my light and my salvation.”
4.    “Come and show us your face, O Lord, who are suspended upon the Cherubum, and we will be saved.”
5.    “Our God will come to save us!”
6.    “Behold the king will come; the Lord of the earth, and he himself will lift the yoke of our captivity.”
7.    “Come, O Lord, visit us in peace that we may rejoice before you with a blameless heart.”
8.    “The day of the Lord is near: Behold he comes to save us.”
9.    “Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior.”
10.    “Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.”
11.    “Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight his paths.  All flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
12.    “Say to the fainthearted:  Be strong and do not fear.  Behold, our God will come, and he will save us.”
13.    “Behold, the Lord will come, and all his holy ones with him; and on that day there will be a great light.”
14.    “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice.  Indeed, the Lord is near.”
15.    “Lord, come to save us.”

The human heart lacks strength to quiet and comfort itself.  The Advent readings give us that inner quiet and comfort from the Lord whose coming in history we are about to celebrate.  His strong arms like those of a shepherd caring for his sheep consoles the spirit.   
Christ told us that he is this light in the darkness that surrounds us.       

Advent, an Attitude of Mind, a Way of Living

The season is so lovely with expectation that the Lord will make the glory of his voice heard in our hearts.  As 2014 comes to a close, Advent affords the individual the space to think about the meaning of one’s life, what is important, and what one is doing to leave it more beautiful than when we entered it. It takes quiet time to wonder at the beautiful mystery of this season as we wait with hope and expectation the magnum mysterium, the great mystery of the Lord’s coming again in our midst.  

Living in the spirit of Advent means ‘putting on Christ.’  It means being clothed in his manner for all to see on Christmas Day and beyond.