First Sunday of Advent
First Reading: Isaiah 2: 1-5
Isaiah is the Advent prophet. Although there are some parts that act as warnings and others which foretell the fate of the faithful Servant of God, there are many more which offer words of hope and comfort to Godís beleaguered people.
As strangers living in foreign lands, the Hebrew people needed assurance that God had not forgotten them - that they would once more live in the Land that God had promised to them.
The vision that Isaiah describes today is one of the most powerful. Not only are the Hebrew people restored to their Land - the Temple of the Lord will be rebuilt - and people of all nations will make their way there - to the mountain of the Lord - to the Temple of the God of Jacob. The nation that has been thrust into exile - living in obscurity - this nation will shine like a light before nations.
And, says Isaiah, when that day comes, the Lord Himself will rule the world - and under His rule, all the weapons of war will be destroyed.
This prophecy was made thousands of years ago - but the longing that inspired it remains.
Imagine what reading those words would have meant to families living through the World Wars - and all the many wars since.
Imagine what reading those words would mean to those whose voices are silenced by oppressive regimes.
Of course, one problem comes to mind - the many many generations who have read those words and for whom they have not been fulfilled.
The challenge for us might be to believe in the promise of the words. When the world doubts that things cannot be different, perhaps our gift is to become a people united in waiting - waiting in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour....
What does it mean for me?
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