Adv2C18. Baruch 5:1-9. The people of Israel were led into slavery by Babylonians, as a punishment for their gross unfaithfulness to God. God, ever faithful despite the lack of loyalty of his people, gathers his own back to him. “See your children gathered from the east and the west as the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that they are remembered by God. Led away on foot by their enemies they left you: but God will bring then back to you.” He has made their way back easy: lowering “every lofty mountain,” bringing the gorges up “to level ground,” cooling their way with “every kind of fragrant tree,” “for God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory.”
Luke 3:1-6. Luke locates the work of John the Baptist in real time by listing the real people of those times because this was a genuine historical event: his proclamation of the Messiah. “The word of God came to John” because he was a prophet, even more than a prophet (Luke ). Then John roughly quotes Isaiah 40:3-4 and a bit more paraphrasing the ideas expressed in the rest of Isaiah 40. Luke builds on the Baruch and Isaiah to say that God is now freeing us from captivity to sin to once again be a blessed people of God. John proclaims a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin which is our Advent way to make straight the way of the Lord to our hearts.
Psalm 126. “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.” This is what the Hebrews proclaimed when they, captives of Zion, were brought back by the Lord to Zion. We likewise proclaim the greatness of Lord toward us when we experience being brought back from sinfulness into the holy company of God.
Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11. “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (code words to mean when Jesus comes the second time.) “And this is my prayer: that your love may increase evermore,” “so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, (the Second Coming) filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.” Let us welcome the Messiah as sinners who have become saints through the work of the Spirit.