First Reading: Isaiah 64:1–9
Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down!
How the mountains would quake in your presence!
As fire causes wood to burn
and water to boil,
your coming would make the nations tremble.
Then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame!
When you came down long ago,
you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations.
And oh, how the mountains quaked!
For since the world began,
no ear has heard
and no eye has seen a God like you,
who works for those who wait for him!
You welcome those who gladly do good,
who follow godly ways.
But you have been very angry with us,
for we are not godly.
We are constant sinners;
how can people like us be saved?
We are all infected and impure with sin.
When we display our righteous deeds,
they are nothing but filthy rags.
Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall,
and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
Yet no one calls on your name
or pleads with you for mercy.
Therefore, you have turned away from us
and turned us over to our sins.
And yet, O Lord, you are our Father.
We are the clay, and you are the potter.
We all are formed by your hand.
Don’t be so angry with us, Lord.
Please don’t remember our sins forever.
Look at us, we pray,
and see that we are all your people. (NLT)
Every year, Christians around the world gather together to celebrate the arrival of the King who came as a pauper, the God who became a man, the light of the world who dispels the darkness. Yet this year will look very different from years past. For many of us, gathering together to celebrate each Sunday of Advent is not a reality that we presently find ourselves able to practice – at least not if we are talking about gathering in the traditional sense. Instead, we have been put in the position to find alternative methods of gathering.
Isaiah petitioned the Lord, saying, “Look at us, we pray, and see that we are all your people.” Even when we are compelled to find new ways of gathering and celebrating – and just being the Church in general – we are still all God’s people. Though the physical distance between us may be greater, we can still grow closer to each other and to God. One of the ways the Church has historically built a sense of unity across great distance is through following the liturgical year, often through following a lectionary of Scripture texts specific to each season.
This year for Advent, a number of people across the NAB have blessed us with their thoughts and perspectives on the lectionary texts for this season. Each week within the lectionary is comprised of four Scripture passages from the Old Testament, Psalms, the New Testament, and the Gospels. All told, twenty-two people have contributed twenty-seven devotionals, one for each day of Advent. May these daily devotionals from across our NAB family help connect you to your brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, but more than that, may they help connect you with the God who is the light of the world.
Michael Benson – Communications Writer for the NAB International Office