Sunday Readings: Baruch 5.1-9; Philippians 1.4-6, 8-11; Luke 3.1-6
When people heard John, they remembered what was written in the book of the prophet Isaiah. A herald’s voice in the desert cries out, “Make ready a road for God. Clear a straight path for God. Every valley shall be filled; every mountain and hill shall be leveled.”
When the Babylonians defeat Israel in 587 B.C., they breach the city walls, burn and level its homes, tear down the temple, and carry the able-bodied into exile in Babylon (modern Iraq). Our Jewish ancestors in faith might have vanished as a people except for the scrapbookers of the exile — the priests who collected and wrote down their history. After nearly 50 years in exile the people might have lost their religious identity without the prophet Second Isaiah, who preached a new exodus, a way home through the wilderness.
John the Baptist heralds the turning point in history by which much of our world marks its calendar. The God who dwelt in Israel’s tent and temple and whom Second Isaiah sees at work in Babylon finds a new dwelling place. A woman makes home in her womb for God to become human. A human family makes a home in which her son, the Son of God, can grow up. God is at home in us and with us.
What stories belong in your Advent scrapbook as valuable preparation for Christmas?
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