The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still confined in the court of the guard: Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and the houses of the kings of Judah that were torn down to make a defense against the siege-ramps and before the sword: The Chaldeans are coming in to fight and to fill them with the dead bodies of those whom I shall strike down in my anger and my wrath, for I have hidden my face from this city because of all their wickedness. I am going to bring it recovery and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first. I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me. And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them; they shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.
Reflection by Janet Derby
Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures are stories like this one of the rise and fall of the fortunes of Israel. Each time it comes with the promise that God will bring recovery and healing. Wherever we are in life, we understand loss, which can be especially difficult during the holiday season. It may be that we feel isolation because of the lack or community, or that civility is missing in the political climate, or the absence of a loved one. Whatever that loss, Advent reminds us that Emmanuel, God with us, can come to us and be present in our lives once again.
Come Emmanuel, Bright and Morning Star, and bring us comfort from afar. Dispel the shadows of the night and turn our darkness into light. Amen.