Grace and Peace to you.
Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her that she has served her term….
A voice cries out: “In the wilderness
prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God….”
See, the Lord God comes with might…
he will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
she will carry them in her bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep.
—from Isaiah 40.1-11
Isaiah brings good news to people in exile. He imagines a smooth, level road in the desert on which the exiles can return home. We are in our own kind of exile, separated from our truest selves. Our lives sometimes seem like high tension wires strung between disturbances and obligations. The call of Advent, this promise of comfort, cries out in the wilderness of our noise and haste, where we are held captive by our tasks and obligations, our fears and desires, our addictions and attachments, our willfulness, our slavery to being defined by how we are judged and how we have pleased others. The prophet calls us home from this exile, home to our own lives, to our simple Belovedness.
The voice comes to us in quiet and darkness and silence. The road through the wilderness is the road of being still, evening out the mountains and valleys of our days. The road home, the way to re-enter our own lives, leads us through silence and darkness, through our not knowing, not having anything to say. It leads us through mystery, in which we dwell with the promise, without words for it, or ways to manage it. The way home is not an arduous journey. In fact the promise of Advent is that One is coming who will lead us, carry us, feed us, bring us home.
Listen in these days for the voice that calls you home. Prepare a way, a way of silence and stillness amidst the busyness, a way of not knowing but waiting. Wait for the presence of the One who speaks tenderly to your soul, who leads you in loving gentleness, who whispers in the darkness, “Comfort, O comfort my people…”
Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes