Sunday, November 30, 2014

Advent Day 1

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices, together they sing for joy; for in plain sight they see the return of the Lord to Zion. Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. – Isaiah 52: 7-10
There are few places as peaceful as sitting on a mountainside, looking across valleys with lush green forests or spectacular rock formations. It is one of those kinds of places that remind a person how small and insignificant they are, even when they sit and feel like kings and queens with all the world at their feet.
For those below, imagine a messenger coming down from the mountain bringing news of peace and good will, not just for those on the mountain but those in the valleys below as well. They herald the news with glad songs and the people join in the celebratory singing. There is comfort and redemption to be celebrated, and the everlasting hills echo the joyous sounds.
For those of us who celebrate Advent it can be a real trial going into stores and shops which are playing endless rounds of carols we don’t sing until Christmas Eve at the earliest (unless one is in a choir where they’ve probably been practicing them since before Thanksgiving!). By the time we get to Christmas and we’re ready to enjoy the music, the stores have gone back to their regular music and we’re left feeling a bit bereft. We have 12 days of Christmas to celebrate and everybody else has already moved on to Valentine’s Day!
Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with humming a carol or two before December 24th. Many expectant mothers hum and sing lullabies before the little one makes its appearance. We could be just practicing so that when the joyous nativity happens, we’re ready, in good and full voice, and more than ready to make mountains ring with sound.
We are expecting the greatest gift we could be given. We know it now, but only a very few knew it at the time before the birth of Jesus. We can anticipate, and anticipation can be a good thing. People are friendlier, smiles more ready, and kindness a bit more evident than any other time of year. Maybe we could practice lifting the hearts of those who may not feel like celebrating. Perhaps we can’t lift their depression or get them a house for their family, but we can listen and share what we can. Sometimes a cup of hot coffee is a gift that not only warms the body but the heart as well.
Let’s practice sharing our expectant hope in this season of Advent. Maybe ours are the feet that will bring good news to those who so sorely need it.

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