God’s People Are Comforted
40 Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God.
2 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.
3 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.
5 Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
6 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.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades,
when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand forever.
9 Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;[a]
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,[b]
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
10 See, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep.
During the season of Advent, we recall the promises God made with the Israelites. In these promises, we are reminded that time and time again when we humans sinned, God continued to show God’s love to us. God forgave those who sinned against God and even when they continued to sin, God kept making promises with them, reminding them of God’s love and power. Today’s reading from Isaiah is filled with promises. These promises are not generic. Through these words, we recall how much God loved and continues to love God’s people. In the midst of exile, the Israelites are reminded of God’s love. Comfort, O comfort, God says. Even though things seem dark and dim, God remembers that they are God’s and God doesn’t want them to fall like they had over and over again. And so, they are called to get ready for the coming of the Lord. They are called to be ready when they hear the words, “Here is your God!” We know that God’s promise came true. 2000 years ago, the glory of God was revealed to the whole world. Christ Jesus, God in the flesh, entered into our world. The promises that come to us from God entering in our world are something that can never be broken. Like a shepherd who feeds his flock, through Christ we are fed and led into relationship with God and one another. Through the Holy Spirit, we are gathered and will be one day led to the one who makes these promises with us, God. “Do not fear… Here is your God!”
Thank you, O God, for the promises you make with your people. As we prepare for the coming of Christ into the world help us see your glory, revealed to us through the babe born in Bethlehem. Help us remember that you have promised to comfort us and that, although grass withers and flowers fade, your word stands forever. In Jesus’ name, Amen.