In the season of giving and receiving, there is one gift that is lasting.
interpreted by Deborah
Comfort, O comfort My people, speak tenderly to those who mourn, release them from from their sorrows, bring peace to their hurting hearts, says the Lord. This is your work, your purpose, your task in life.
Clear the path, remove the barriers, open the gates, get out of the way — and let the Holy enter in. Then all will see and rejoice in the glory of God; boundless love will overflow and fill all the earth.
The lowly will be lifted up, the haughty will bow their heads, the weary will be strengthened, the vengeful will forgive, the grieving will find hope again, the hateful will become kind. And all the people will say, “Truly, this is what our God has done!”
Such a gracious, tender beginning to a prayer: “Comfort, O comfort my people…” Hearing it, we imagine it is the voice of Isaiah, weeping for his people, begging the Almighty to give them solace in a time of great trouble.
It is a beautiful, comforting prayer.
But these words are not a plea to God; this isn’t a groan of agony from those below to the One Above. No. It is a cry from heaven to those on earth, calling for care and compassion toward God’s people. It is God’s heart that is hurting.
It is not the prophet who claims us as his own, but God. It is God who is grieving for us, sighing for us, calling for us to treat one another with holy tenderness. In the words of Another, we are being called to “be merciful, as your Father in heaven is merciful” (Luke 6:36).
May that work of sacred compassion be the gift you give to all the world, each day of the Christmas season and throughout the year ahead.
Virtual hugs and real-time blessings,
“Be merciful, as your Father in heaven is merciful.”
Remember that this season can be a particularly difficult one for many people. Please be gentle to all those you meet (and to yourself, as well). And in every season, keep these numbers handy:
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255
Veterans Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255
Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233
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