Advent Daybook, 8: A voice cries in the wilderness

My Advent daybook for these 24 days of waiting. Join me, won't you? (see previous Advent daybook 2017 posts here)

*Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.*

  1. Saint John the Baptist Preaching, Anton Raphael Mengs, 1775 (source)
  2. St. John the Baptist, El Greco, 1579 (source)
  3. Saint John the Baptist, Todor Mitrovic, contemporary (source)
  4. Saint John the Baptist, Andrei Rublev, 1408 (source)
  5. St. John the Baptist in the Desert, Georges de la Tour, 1649 - 1651 (source)
  6. St. John the Baptist (detail from the Annunciation from the Isenheim Altarpiece), Matthias Grünewald, c.1512 - c.1516
  7.  St. John the Baptist, Maxim Sheshukov, contemporary (source)
  8. St. John the Baptist, Hans Holbein the Younger, c.1519 (source)
  9. John the Baptist, Bartolomeo Veneto (source)
  10. The Baptist, John Giuliani (source)

music for today: selections from the Messiah: Part the First: Nos. 2 - 4, 9 & 20, Robert Shaw Orchestra  (Spotify) or (YouTube)

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.

A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.

Go on up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good news;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Behold your God!”
Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.”
”Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;
but let them not turn back to folly.
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land.”


”The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,

“Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way,
the voice of one crying in the wilderness:

‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”

John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
— Isaiah 40:1-11, Psalm 85:8-9, & Mark 1:1-8 (ESV)

* Sunday Scripture readings are taken from the Revised Common Lectionary (Year B). Daily Scripture readings are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (Year 2).

prayer for today:

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
— Book of Common Prayer

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Consider the ways those who make their living serving passers-by on the street corners and parking lots of your community see the world. Imagine the kind of wisdom they've gained sitting on the "sidelines" of the place you live. What do they see? What do they offer? 

(see all Advent daybook posts from 2016 here)