Lydia Cristini


Second Sunday in Advent – December 6, 2015
Baruch 5.1-9 | Psalm 126 | Philippians 1.3-6, 8-11 | Luke 3.1-6
November 23, 2015

The "one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ." To me, this is hope. And hope is a difficult thing to find these days.

If we are paying attention, there is no end to human suffering in the world around us.

This list could go on and on, and it does not even touch the suffering endured in each of our personal lives.

The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his path straight.' - Luke 3.4

'The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his path straight."'

Luke 3.4

So, we numb it. We escape. We attempt to soothe it with some substance or activity: shopping, television, relationships, work, power, pornography, alcohol, exercise, Internet, sex, food, video games, gambling. For many, this escape has become an addiction, negatively affecting lives, but not able to stop.

Dr. Gabor Maté says all addictions are an attempt to avoid feeling pain (

He reminds us our society is built on "instant relief, quick satisfaction, distraction," distracting us from being with ourselves. Maté directs us to the deceptively simple solution: be with your pain. So, how do we do that? He tells us we can finally know what we are running from, if we find compassion.

On this Second Sunday of Advent, we hear of the joy and glory of God, the great things the Lord has done. God calls us to take off the garment of sorrow and affliction. God has done great things; and we do experience his joy and glory.

However, true joy comes after we have allowed ourselves to spend time with the painful realities in our lives. As part of the Body of Christ, no one has to do this alone.

Advebnt Wreath - Week 2

This Advent is an opportunity to make space and silence so we become aware of some things, take this time to seek out a compassionate person to allow ourselves to spend time with the suffering we have avoided thus far.

Just as importantly, take this time to really look at the people around us, to look for opportunities to be a compassionate presence for someone else.

With God's help, we prepare the way of the Lord. Like John the Baptist, we can remove the hills and valleys of obstacles and distractions, of being able to truly live out the praise of the psalmist: "The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy."