Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.
One of my rituals for Advent for nearly 50 years has been to listen and reflect on Handel’s Messiah. It begins with a tumultuous overture that seems to mirror all the wrangling in my soul and reflects all the turmoil of history and our distress in living apart from God’s Presence.
Then comes the clear, gentle voice of promise saying:
Comfort ye, comfort ye my people . . . saith your God;
Speak ye comfort to Jerusalem and cry to her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned.
Then my fears melt away, distress is soothed, the storms of life are stilled . . . my heart is at rest in the arms of a loving God.
Throughout the years this message of peace has been spoken to me in the midst of wars in the world; challenges of living with family, friends, and co-workers; the death of loved ones; and through the loneliness of illness and disability. . . . comfort sought and comfort given . . . . like the gentle falling snow that drifts upon us through the night. . . . we are embraced by comfort to withstand whatever comes.
Dear Jesus, we are so vulnerable as your created beings, and how easily we stray from your fold of grace. As you once sought the lamb that went astray, gather us into your loving arms this day to comfort and soothe our fearful souls. Amen.
For further reading see:
Isaiah 40: 1-11