Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.’
Reflection by Janet Derby
Most people, particularly children, can barely wait for Christmas to come. I admit that I am anxious for the winter break to arrive, but I have found this year that I am wishing Advent to last just a little longer. Thanksgiving was late this year, so it feels like Advent is shorter (though I do understand it is not). Perhaps it is more related to the fact that as I get older, I enjoy the preparation for Christmas almost as much as the holiday itself. Advent is filled with not only anticipation but also memories of Christmases past. Some of those are joyful and some bring nostalgia. I suppose my age also means that I have many more past holidays from which to draw those remembrances and many are of family and friends no longer with us. This may be why I am as drawn to the message of hope that the Advent Scriptures bring us. The reassurance that God is with us to strengthen the weak provides tremendous solace. The rituals too, bring comfort and hope. I always love preparing for and singing in the Christmas program as it takes me to the many prior programs I have sung before, especially those I sang together with family members. I saw pictures of my nephew and his wife and their two young children choosing a tree and decorating it, and I am reminded of the promise in the birth of a child and the meaningfulness of family traditions. The holiday lights that surround us are a reminder that the light continues to shine in darkness. These experiences help me to keep in mind the promise of the prophets that was, is, and will always be with us.
Emmanuel, Thank you for the reminder that we should fear not, for a child has been born to us who helps us to transform the world. Amen.