Yesterday, November 29, was the first Sunday of the Christian Advent season. The word advent is the English translation of the Latin word for coming. Old Testament prophecies pointed to the first coming of Jesus as a baby; today Christians celebrate his birth and anticipate his return during the days of Advent.

Every day this month, I will focus on a scripture that helps you open your heart and prepare room for celebrating the birth of Christ as well as look forward to his return. Other Advent activities include calendars, prayers, readings, wreaths and candles — all linked here to Crosswalk.com. This can be a whole family event or something you do personally to enrich the holiday season.

9O Zion, messenger of good news, shout from the mountaintops! Shout it louder, O Jerusalem. Shout, and do not be afraid. Tell the towns of Judah,“Your God is coming!” 10Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes. 11He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.

Isaiah 40:9-11

This was written to the people of Israel a long time ago. But today as I read it, I am challenged to shout from the mountain top that “Our God is coming!” It is the message of hope our world needs to hear. The way I do that will be different than the way you do it, but we all have a role to play in God’s grand scheme.

Simultaneously, I am comforted by the image of Jesus as my shepherd, gathering me in his arms and carrying me close to his heart. As I pause to visualize that, a deep peace settles over me, replacing the angst that has followed me today.

How are you challenged by this passage? How are you comforted?

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