Today we hear the voice of the prophet Isaiah speaking a word of hope to the people of Israel, who have been devastated by the armies of Babylon. They are poor, powerless, and hurting, yet the prophet speaks of a God of justice who comes with liberation and favor. God,...
O God who sees the suffering of the oppressed, give us eyes to see and hearts to care. Thank you for setting us free. Help us do the same for others, in your holy name. Amen.
Isaiah speaks of the day in which God’s Anointed One (Messiah) will bring good news to the poor and hope to the oppressed. Jesus will later read this passage and declare it to be about himself (Luke 4), so we read Isaiah’s prophecy during Advent. The psalmist rejoices that God has restored the fortunes of the people. They have come through a period of difficulty, but God has brought them into a place of joy. Throughout Advent, we also look forward to such rejoicing. Paul encourages the Thessalonians to pray continually with gratitude and rejoicing, and the God of peace will sustain them. In the Gospel reading, John the Baptist repeats the theme from last week—that he is merely the messenger to prepare the way for the Lord.
Read Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11. God is coming. How do Isaiah’s words of praise and justice inspire you to act?
Read Psalm 126. How do you celebrate the justice that you have seen come to fruition while hoping for future justice? How does your anticipation of the fullness of justice affect your faith?
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24. How can you return to the basics of faith during Advent?
Read John 1:6-8, 19-28. How is this Advent season both familiar and new for you? How might simple announcements of Jesus’ coming change your experience of the season?
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