Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that she has served her term,
that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
A voice cries out:
‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’
Hymn - O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
O come, o come, great Lord of might,
Who to your tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times gave holy law,
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!
Comfort, tenderness - these are words that are surely close to the deepest
longing of our hearts, particularly when we are feeling exhausted and
broken by the hardships of life. They were first spoken almost 2500 years
ago to a broken people, defeated in a brutal war, the survivors scattered
as refugees in foreign lands. The image of a road through the desert,
on which God will bring back his scattered people, speaks to our own
longing for home, a place where we can be fully and truly ourselves.