**Alternate** First Reading: Isaiah 40:3-5, 9

A reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah

A voice cries out:
Prepare in the wilderness a way for the Most High God;
Make straight in the desert a highway for our God!
Let every valley be filled in,
And every mountain and hill be laid low;
Let every cliff become a plain,
And the ridges a valley.
Then the glory of the Most High God will be revealed,
And all humankind will see it.
The mouth of the Most High has spoken.
Go up on a high mountain, you who bring good news to Zion.
Shout with a loud voice, you who bring good news to Jerusalem.
Shout without fear, and say to the town of Judah,
“Here is your God!”

The word of God recorded in the book of the prophet Isaiah.