Give Comfort to my People

Isaiah’s beautiful passage is full of meaning. After a long and dark exile in Babylon, God directs Isaiah to tell His people that it is almost over. God will be there to expiate their sins, bring them out of captivity and “give comfort.” I love this reading.  Throughout all of human history, there have been periods of great trial. We look for comfort and do not find it. We look for a way out and do not find it. We stumble our way through life, looking for a path forward, and do not find it.

Perhaps we are looking in the wrong places.

Advent is the beautiful season of anticipation of the Lord’s coming. Have we not yet realized that this four-week season is our path out of darkness? If only we would open our eyes and see. See that the comfort we long for can be ours if we pay attention to God’s call to meet his Son and to see our way forward.

There is so much, today that I hate about Advent. It has become the season of shopping and gross consumerism. Pay attention to the ads. “The Twelve Days shopping at (name of store here).” Or, the “Twelve Gifts of Christmas at (name of store here).” We are bombarded from even before Halloween. I have disagreements with my family and friends about the real “Twelve Days of Christmas”…which should be the Evening of Dec. 24th through Epiphany. This is the Christmas Season. Not October 15th – December 25th, and then it’s all over. Trees are on the curbs; decoration disappear from the stores and our home, parties are suspended — I find this to be so sad, and personally, very troubling. Rush here, rush there; check off our list of items to be purchased; make everything equal so as not to offend anyone; outdoing each other in outdoor decorations and lights. Oh my! Where is Jesus in all of this? He is buried somewhere under the packages! And no, he will not appear to us on our doorstep in an Amazon package. Jesus must be welcomed into our hearts. Only we can make that happen.

Isaiah wants us to know that the darkness of this time of year is not lost on the date set for the celebration of the Incarnation. The long and dark days of winter are lit by the Light of Christ coming into the world. It should mean to us, if we pay attention, that our personal exiles can be ended by the comfort of the coming of Christ, here to lead us to safety. This season of anticipation also teaches us that Christ stays with us. His life from manger to grave to resurrection – or lives from birth to death to eternal glory.

If you haven’t yet started, I encourage you to begin the journey to Christmas with a heart to knowing Jesus better, to welcome him into your homes and families with the attention he deserves. Christmas will be a much more beautiful celebration for you. God loves you. He sent his Son to light your way. He gives comfort.

“The day of the Lord is near: behold, he comes to save us.”

God Bless.

Jeanne Penoyar, an Accounts Manager here at Diocesan, is currently a Lector at St. Anthony of Padua parish in Grand Rapids, MI. While at St. Thomas the Apostle, Grand Rapids, Jeanne was a Lector, Cantor, Coordinator of Special Liturgies, Coordinator of lectors and, at one time, chair of the Liturgy Commission. In a past life, secretary/bookkeeper at the Basilica of St. Adalbert where she ran the RCIA program for the Steepletown parishes. And she loves to write! When relaxing, she likes reading and word puzzles. You can contact her at