‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord’, Isaiah invites us. But I, at least, am weary. The year has worn me down, and the thought of a journey, especially an uphill climb, seems daunting. Projects and plans for the year remain unfinished, and time seems to be running out. I carry burdens collected in seasons past, now become a heavy load.

How can I possibly ‘go up to the mountain of the Lord’? The exhortation of St Paul and the message–‘watch!’–of the Gospel fail to move me.
But two things I remember. The first is that Isaiah’s message doesn’t end here. Inside my engagement ring is inscribed my husband’s favorite verse: Isaiah 40.31. If Advent is a time of watching, it is also a time of waiting, waiting on the Lord. Fortunately the strength for this journey is not my strength. The second is that going up to the mountain of the Lord means returning joyfully, with the people of God. Advent is not a solo expedition; I neither watch nor wait alone. The invitation Isaiah issues is an invitation to join the community and to expect to receive the strength I need for the journey.

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