In Handel’s beloved Messiah, the tenor sings, “a voice cries out: In the wilderness - prepare the way of the LORD - make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” The orchestra responds with triumphant acclamation, giving a strong sense of expectation and even joy. I don’t think I could ever tire of hearing Messiah and perhaps it’s because Handel so brilliantly captures the essence of humanity’s yearning for God to reveal Godself. And of course, in this well-known masterpiece, we hear Isaiah’s words, written centuries earlier, crafted anew by Handel into Messiah. Isaiah promises his people consolation and a joyous return to their homeland – words of hope that ring true to us today - even centuries later. We, too, yearn for rest from the world’s chaos and the weeks of Advent offer followers of Christ a way to set ourselves apart from the jarring noise of a world seemingly at odds with itself and to prepare for the birth of the Christ-child.
If we give ourselves the time and the opportunity during the Advent season for prayer and reflection, focusing on the gift God gives of God’s son, laying our concerns at God’s feet, we find a new sense of hope and peace. And that is the way of Christ – it has always been the way of Christ to be transformed by his love. We are in dark times right now and uncertainty and fear seem to prevail in our world. Yet, the darkness of the time we’re living in now is no more profoundly so than at any other time in human history. The constant for us is the way Christ sustains us and gives us strength to persevere, knowing that God is present with us through Christ, working in our lives and in the world in enormously powerful ways. Advent is our time to slow down and experience this presence. Would you pray with me now?
During times when my world becomes unhinged
And the foundations of what I believe crack and dissolve,
Give me the grace to believe that your power is at
Work in the turmoil of my life.
Lead me to remember that your power is greater than all evil.
And though the world may rock and sometimes break,
It will in time be transformed by your Love.