The prophet Isaiah becomes our reliable spiritual guide throughout these weeks of Advent. His words pour God’s overwhelming mercy and goodness into each of our lives. No matter whether Advent 2015 finds me in a personal desert or a vale of great hope, Isaiah reminds me deep down inside that “the Lord binds up the wounds of his people.”

But the call of Advent also pulls us forward: Jesus himself invites us beyond personal needs and concerns to a fuller life of service. Today’s gospel summons us “to cure sickness and disease of every kind.”  The reality is that “the gift you have received” we are now invited to “give as a gift.”

Tomorrow the Church celebrates the feast of the legendary gift-giver St. Nicholas. In his great-hearted spirit, St. Nicholas reminds me that these weeks of Advent grace invite me to dig deep and give my very best my time and treasure, an open heart and a generous spiritsharing mercy, spreading love, announcing good news!  And just how will this happen in my life this weekend?

— The Jesuit Prayer Team