5 Thus says God, the Lord
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people upon it
and spirit to those who walk in it:

 6 I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
                              —Isaiah 42:5-6

I have spent the last five weeks in a type of malaise that others may be feeling too; not quite feeling that things were real—caught in some type of nightmare—and that I would awaken and everything would be right with the world. I certainly was feeling despair and I was procrastinating writing my meditation until today, Sunday, December 11th , when I heard Canon John Peterson’s sermon and a very small trickle of hope came from someplace deep inside me. As Canon Peterson went on that trickle began to flow more forcefully. Believing that God does have a plan for each and every one of us, I sat down again and read the Office readings for December 18th . The psalms have always been a great comfort and the New Testament readings were important, but it was the Isaiah reading (Isa. 42:1-12) that spoke to the very heart of my hope, and most important to me was Isaiah 42:5-6.

Here is God who does not have anyone making him do anything. I am reminded of my wanting as a child the day that no one would order me about and, yet, as I grow into old age I have never had one of those days. But I digress. God is indeed God and he made all the worlds and he gave breath to you and me. But why would a God give us breath and a spirit to walk on his earth? I come again and again to my belief that it was the love, yes, the love that is God that did this, and he even knows every hair on my head! He has called me, and you, in righteousness, to love, and to walk with him; not to bow down to him as if he was an earthly king who controls everything that I do. How can I ever understand, really understand, that kind of love? How often do I love unconditionally or have such a great love that I would give up my son, John, and a part of myself, to a horrible death in order to fulfill some kind of promise?

I do have many questions and only one answer and that is based on words, his words:

I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
I have taken you by the hand and kept you;

It is his promise to me, and to you, that he will take our hands, my hand and your hand, as I took the hands of my children. He has kept us and will keep us! I have been through much in my life but God never left me alone. My greatest fear is to be truly alone. I may have felt alone but there has always been someone or something that called me to look, and when I looked he was always there. Whether it was the priest who knocked on my hospital room door when I had just asked God where he was on a cold and grey winter’s day and told him that all I could see was darkness, a blacker than black darkness. As I turned to see her, I saw that her black jacket had the most beautiful bright ribbons of every color woven into it, and I laughed, for God loves me and does have such a sense of humor. Or, as on the Sunday that Canon Peterson spoke and I felt hope again. God will never leave me alone. God will never leave you alone. He will always show us that he is here alongside us, walking our walk with us as long as we dare to look. As we approach the Christ Child’s birth, may we at all times know that our God is with us always. Our Emmanuel!

May you continue to have a quiet and longing Advent, and with his birth, a joy that you have never experienced.