Readings: 2nd Sunday of Advent, December 6, 2015

  • Baruch 5: 1-9

Jerusalem, take off the clothes you have worn in your mourning and distress, and put on the eternal splendor of God’s glory. Put around you the cloak of God’s righteousness. Place on your head the crown of the glory of the Eternal God.  God will show your splendor to every nation on earth.  Forever he will say to you:

Your security comes from your righteousness, and your splendor from your devotion to me.

Get up, Jerusalem, stand on the mountaintop; see where God, the Holy One, is bringing your children together from the east and from the west. They are rejoicing that God has remembered them.  Jerusalem, your children were led away by their enemies; they left you on foot, but God is bringing them back to you, carried in royal splendor.  God has commanded that every high mountain and the everlasting hills shall be made low; he has commanded that the valleys shall be filled and the ground leveled, so that the people of Israel may come safely home in the glory of God.  At the command of God, forests of fragrant trees will spring up to provide shade for the people of Israel.  God will lead Israel home. They will return with great joy, guided by his mercy and righteousness, surrounded by the light of his presence. (Good News Translation © 1992 Good News Bible)

  • Philipians 1: 4-6, 6-8 (The Message Bible)

     A Love That Will Grow

Brothers and sisters:

Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message,

from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.

All along you have experienced with me he most generous help from God. He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does!

So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.    (The Message Bible © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson)

  • Luke 3:1-6

     A Baptism of Life-Change

In the fifteenth year of the rule of Caesar Tiberius—it was while Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea; Herod, ruler of Galilee; his brother Philip, ruler of Iturea and Trachonitis; Lysanias, ruler of Abilene; during the Chief-Priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas—John, Zachariah’s son, out in the desert at the time, received a message from God. He went all through the country around the Jordan River preaching a baptism of life-change leading to forgiveness of sins, as described in the words of Isaiah the prophet:

Thunder in the desert! “Prepare God’s arrival! Make the road smooth and straight!

Every ditch will be filled in, every bump smoothed out. The detours straightened out,

all the ruts paved over! Everyone will be there to see the parade of God’s salvation.”  (The Message Bible © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson)



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