I was introduced to Handel’s Messiah as a college student.   Also did I mention that may girlfriend, now wife was a music minor.  So, as a good boyfriend I attended the performances of the Messiah at Olivet Nazarene University.  Somewhere between the first and second performance I fell in love with the music and the message of the Scripture.  It is not Advent season without listening to it at least once.  Handel intended it to be Lenten music but over the years it has come to be associated with Advent.  Asking me which part I like best, is like asking what is my favorite flavor of ice cream!  This year will be another year in which I have read through the Bible.  I remember reading through the first 39 chapters of Isaiah.  It is bleak and filled with trouble.  Something happens at the beginning of the 40th chapter.  Isaiah goes from the fire and brimstone preacher to sound a great announcement.  Allow me to state it in the King James vernacular:  Comfort ye my people!  This is where the Messiah begins.  Get ready for the Messiah, make the way straight.  The message we need to hear today is that our God does His best work in dark times.  Our God is a God of comfort!  He is the one who exalts the valleys of our lives.  He is the God who eventually one day will fill in the valley and make the rough places smooth.  No matter how bad things may look today, politically, economically and relationally, He is a God who will one day straighten the most crooked of places.  Out of the depths Isaiah announces the coming of the Lord.  “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.”  Thanks be to God.  It is never so dark and depressing that God cannot break through with His glory!  He revealed His glory in the babe of Bethlehem.  He reveals His glory to those who receive Christ.  He reveals His glory through us as we seek to be His image bearers in a lost and hurting world.  My prayer today is: Lord use me to share your praise for your Glory.  Beyond the tinsel, parties, gifts, candy, travel and dinners, there is truly good news.  The Messiah has come.  In such an uncertain time, we have a  Savior, let us behold His glory and celebrate His coming by being light and salt to our generation.  Now that is present worth giving!

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