During the Babylonian Captivity, the people of Israel had their hearts broken as they lived under the domination of a powerful foreign nation.  Their customs, wisdom, and families were torn apart.  They became refugees and their children taken from them.  It is in this sorrow that the prophet Isaiah proclaims that God offers us tender mercy and comfort in our brokenhearted world.  We hear the words, "Comfort, give comfort to my people."  In the Gospel, this comfort extends to Elizabeth and Zechariah, who long for a child and are given one at long last. Breaking the tradition of naming a child after the father, the baby is named John, which means God is gracious.  The birth of John is at the cusp of a new way of God revealing love among us.  The Comfort of God will be with us as John, the Baptist proclaims his coming.