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December 23rd

Day 23

Isaiah 52:7-10

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.

We could all do with a bit of good news! Over the last couple of years it has become more and
more difficult to see it amongst the global disaster of Covid and localised disasters of flood, fire,
earthquake, hurricane and more. Isaiah was prophesying good news amongst so much trouble, not everyone would understand, but may well have hung on to a positive message to carry them through. So what is the good news that will sustain us in these difficult times. When we are lonely and isolated, where do we find the comfort and support? When we are unwell and the NHS are so overloaded, where do we find healing? When we are overwhelmed by the struggles around the world, where do we find hope? I have been quite angry over the last weeks as the media is filled with 'Saving Christmas'! What exactly are they saving? No mention of a birthday which will happen with or without all the trimmings; we are led to believe that it is all about getting the consumer goods on to the shelves, presents under the tree, an over indulgence of food and drink. There was some furore a few years ago when a 'Winter Festival' was declared in some of our cities rather than Christmas; I liked it, it was a far more honest description of what happens, and, along with other faiths celebrating Hanukah and Diwali, Christians could celebrate the birthday of Jesus, somehow separating it from all the hype. Advent is a season largely ignored by most outside of church circles, yet it is the Good News that looks forward with a promise of hope, healing, comfort and more that comes with knowing Jesus, prophesied by Isaiah and begun with the birth of Jesus. When we see with our own eyes, know him in our hearts, we will burst into songs of joy of our salvation.   

Prayer

Lord God, help me to be a bringer of good news, that in the midst of festivities, I will not
compromise the celebration of a birthday that has changed my life. As I prepare myself during
Advent, help me to hear your voice, guiding me to be a light in darkness. Show me what I can do
that will enable others to know your presence in their lives. Amen

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