Here is part of our Old Testament reading for today, from Isaiah: ‘Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may sprout forth,  and let it cause righteousness to spring up also; I the Lord have created it’.

This verse forms part of the beautiful text known as the Advent Prose: ‘Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour forth righteousness: let the earth be fruitful, and bring forth a Saviour. Be not very angry, O Lord, neither remember our iniquity for ever: thy holy cities are a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation: our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee. … We have sinned, and are as an unclean thing, and we all do fade as a leaf: our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away; thou hast hid thy face from us: and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. … Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know me and believe me: I, even I, am the Lord, and beside me there is no Saviour: and there is none that can deliver out of my hand. … Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, my salvation shall not tarry: I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions: fear not for I will save thee: for I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer’.

From a penitential beginning, the text moves to salvation and hope, and ends on words of comfort from the Lord Himself. As we move through Advent, we may find that our personal journey makes the same progression. May God bless you in this, today and in the days to come.