Friday of the second week in Advent

Isaiah 48.17-19; Psalm 1.1-4, 6; Matthew 11.16-19

Thus says the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
‘I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you to profit,
who leads you in the way you should go.
O that you had hearkened to my commandments!
Then your happiness would have been like a river,
and your integrity like the waves of the sea’. (Is. 48.17-18)
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
that yields its fruit in season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers. (Ps. 1.1-3)
. . .
This is the most difficult of all sayings for the hardened sinner: obedience is your happiness, your integrity, and your delight. To hearken to God’s law, and to turn away from the sin that has become your way of life is the way of peace and joy; true pleasure is to be found in righteousness; that is, in God alone, who makes our way righteous, our path blameless, and who teaches us the way in which we ought to walk.
This Advent, more than any other, I identify easily with those who walk in darkness. I realize that I have spent too long in the far country, preferring my own way to God’s, and trusting in the world’s false promises of happiness and security. I have yet to rise, however, and turn back toward the Father’s house. That is why I identify with those in the darkness before, and not after, they have seen a great light.
And so I long this Advent, with a hope deeper and wilder than ever before, for the Light that is coming into the world, and to sing with faith renewed on Christmas morning:
O ye, beneath life’s crushing load
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

For I know, though I cannot perceive it, that the Light shines, even in my darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

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