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Posted on: December 6th, 2020

 

Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des manuscrits, Latin 1156B, fol. 82r.

Isaiah 40:1-11  
Psalm 85:1-2,8-13   
2 Peter 3:8-15a    
Mark 1:1-8

Isaiah 40: ‘Comfort, comfort my people, says your God…’

At the beginning of each Advent season when I was a young girl in Denmark, my mother taped to the wall the same Christmas card.  The image on the card was an angel set against a blue, starry sky, proclaiming: “Glory to God in the highest and peace to God’s people on earth.”  Each time I looked at it, I felt drawn to the sky, awed in anticipation of peace and joy.  The message on that card was our only childhood ‘religious instruction’, but I lived in its invitation to peace and to the wonders of Christmas.

Our family was poor, but at night on the 23rd of December, we five children were given our yearly orange with a sugar cube in the middle.  The intent was to keep us wondrously engaged in our bedrooms, while my parents wrapped presents and decorated the tree.  

When we came to Canada, we left behind our extended family and friends.  We settled in a tiny apartment in a poor section of Oshawa.  We were truly strangers in a foreign land, exiled from our familiar life.

When Advent arrived, however, my mother taped the familiar postcard on the wall of our new home.  And again, I felt the impact of its message: “Comfort, comfort my people…,” a message that would later become a point of reference when I participated in church community.  Through my mother’s faithfulness each year, I knew the presence of a Divine Love that could lead us all to God.

God asked Isaiah to comfort suffering, exiled people.   As Christians, we are called to the same tasks: to proclaim the presence of Divine Love to those who are suffering, and to accompany them on their path, even through the wilderness.  

May our entire lives become this proclamation.     

Yvonne Jensen