“Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem Tell her that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned.” Isaiah 40:1-2a NLT
5th Sunday- (1st in Advent) Expectation!
There is perhaps no passage in all of Scripture that offers hope and inquisitiveness at the same time. Isaiah is speaking to people at the water’s edge of exile, and he strikes a note of confident expectation. What grabs me immediately about this text, is that it is prophecy spoken in the immediate. People who are being plagued by disaster are told their “sad days are over.” It’s difficult to see the silver lining, when everything around us is shrouded in uncertainty. The people Isaiah is addressing would soon tell their captors, “How can we sing the songs of Zion in a strange land?” The late Bob Marley borrowed and reiterated the same question when he considered the plight of people of African descent born in the diaspora around the world. Although life can be bleak at times, emerging from the chaos and pain of our immediate moments will be a clear expectation that things “will” be better. In this message of Isaiah, can be found the meaning and encouragement of Advent. Isaiah, like no other prophet, speaks profusely of the Messianic Hope. Yes, there can be hope in an unsettling world. Advent speaks not merely to the coming of better times, but of a deliverer who will “set the captives free.” As the late sage and theologian Dr. Howard Thurman brilliantly noted, this “Jesus of the Disinherited” fulfilled prophesy and divine expectation. This is the first Advent seen through the blurred lens of a pandemic in over 100 years. But like the events of over 2000 years ago, no upheaval, unrest, pandemic, and the actions of a maniacal leader, can kill the “expectations” of the faithful. The coming of Jesus in human flesh was no hoax, or fake news, it was (and is) the fulfillment of prophecy! Advent invites us to experience
the end of “sad days “and starless nights. It is our time!