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The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Isaiah 35:1-2

On this the fourth Sunday of Advent and the Eve of the Nativity of the Lord, our prayer is that you realize the awesome gift God has given you through the birth of His Son. God loved you so much that He did not want sin to separate you from Him. He sent His beloved Son to die in your place so that you could spend eternity with Him. Spend time today contemplating all the Lord has done for you through this gift. May your heart be filled with joy at the coming of the Christ Child!

Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy. Isaiah 35:3-6a

God is coming through the birth of a child. He will “strengthen the feeble hands” and “steady the knees that give way.” God will comfort “fearful hearts.” Christmas is a difficult time for many. Family strife, death of loved ones, ill health, loss of income, and fractured relationships can cause much sorrow during this season. Others may have family members who are away from the Church, acting in ways which are self-destructive. A time meant for joy and celebration can be devastating for those who experience these emotions. For those who are suffering, we pray that God will touch your heart through the birth of the Christ Child, giving you great peace and joy.

For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not pass over it, and fools shall not err therein. Isaiah 35:6b-8

God can heal the hurting heart. “He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds” (Ps 147:3) says the Psalmist. God can make “water…gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.” He can take any trial you are facing and bring new life. Do not lose heart. Look to the coming of the Christ Child as your joy and hope.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Isaiah 35:10

Jesus “came that [we] may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10). We have tremendous reason to rejoice at the coming of the Lord. If you are finding it difficult to rejoice, keep this in mind: God rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. He has a special place in His heart for the lame, the afflicted, the poor, the lost, and the downcast. God will rescue you and your loved ones too. He will give you His everlasting joy. May God bless you and your family this Christmas in ways that you have never experienced before!

Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. As an example of suffering and patience, brethren, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we call those happy who were steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. James 5:7-8, 10-11

We pray God’s richest blessings for you and your family this Christmas. You remain in our prayers. “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh 8:10).