Advent 2016 – Dec 27

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 people 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 people are 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 for ever. Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your God!" See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. 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. -- Isaiah 40:1-11    
Christmas is a season of comfort. Listen to Isaiah, and you will experience this comfort. Speak tenderly, God told him. Their prison sentence is over, was the message, and the penalty is paid, says the Lord. Let's be honest and admit that God is showing mercy. The Good News is that God shows up in Jesus of Nazareth and puts his glory on full display. Look closely and you can see that God chooses to smooth the way for everyone to know him. God moves mountains to get to us. God wants to be with us -- same as he was in Eden. He wants to feed your heart and carry you in his arms. Find a picture more comforting than that, and I'll have it tattooed on my hand.