Here is part of today’s Old Testament reading, from Isaiah: ‘There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots’. This recalls another line from Isaiah: ‘In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and glory of the survivors of Israel’.

The branch: here is Jeremiah: ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness”’. These words are sung at Vespers at the very beginning of Advent, that is, last Saturday, and they set the tone for the whole season of loving expectation.

And so today, let us deepen our sense of expectation, as we await His Coming among us even in the suffering of our times. In fact, He comes especially in the time of greatest need. May God bless you and may you feel His Presence close to you.