Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths…
What a wonderful invitation during this Advent season which seems to be occurring in a valley of despair! I find myself too often these days identifying with Longfellow’s sentiments—written in the midst of the Civil War—”Then in despair I bowed my head, there is no peace on earth I said…”
Longfellow found his reassurance in the sounds of the Christmas bells. Ours comes from Isaiah’s call to leave the valley and go to the mountain top where we will find God’s guiding support. The psalmist also reminds us to “lift up our eyes to the hills” for help in times of distress.
The challenge for us, as we prepare our hearts during this unusual Advent season, is to commit to rising from the valley of despair of these turbulent days and seek God’s guidance and support on our personal mountain tops of daily prayer and devotion. I close with lines from a favorite Advent hymn that have a special meaning for these times:
O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up to the heights and sing! Proclaim to a desolate people the coming of their King.
May God be with us during Advent 2020!