In the four weeks of Advent the Prophet Isaiah, John the Baptist and Mary of Nazareth are messengers from God. Isaiah, the first voice we hear, brings a message of hope.
Isaiah was a priest in the temple of Jerusalem in the eighth century, the worst of times, when the powerful armies of Assyria were ravaging the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.
God came to him in a vision in the temple’s Holy of Holies (Isaiah 6) and Isaiah was overwhelmed by a Presence more powerful than mighty armies and their clever leaders. God is “Emmanuel,” “God with us.” no matter how bad the times.
This was Isaiah’s message then, and it’s his message for us today.
“I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?’ ‘Here I am,’ I said; ‘send me!’” (Is: 6:8)
Isaiah’s prophecies pervade Advent time. They may seem unreal to us, as they must have seemed unreal to those who saw Assyrian armies wasting their land. All nations streaming toward the mountain of the Lord’s house, laying down arms of war? All peoples, nations and races living in harmony and peace?
Today, the prophet’s promise may still seem an impossible dream in our splintered world, But Advent revives our hope, not just a personal hope for ourselves and those dear to us, but hope for the whole world. The peaceable kingdom, seemingly impossible, is not impossible for God.
God is with us. Emmanuel.