Tuesday, December 6, 2011
The Old Testament lectionary lessons for these days are so powerful, so rich, so full of images. While the gospel lessons have us focused in the present moment on John the Baptist, it is Isaiah 40:3 which lets know he is not an afterthought, but a part of the plan which God was working out through the generations of history. Looking back the gospel writers saw the divine connection between what God was doing in the prophet Isaiah's day and what He was doing in their own day. Reading passages like Isaiah 11:1-10, Isaiah 40:1-11, Isaiah 43:1-21, and Isaiah 62 can only enrich our lives and provide us assurance that God is, indeed, the One who is in charge.
Seeing the connection between what was and what happened only solidifies our understanding of the way God works in the same moments in our lives. Even as John the Baptist was no afterthought, but a planned part of the divine unfolding of history, so it is true that we, too, are created for purposeful living. Sometimes we are tempted to think that the unfolding of our own personal history is surely outside of the realm of divine concern, but the texts of these Advent days give us every reason to see and hope differently.
We are not alone. He has promised to be with us. The rivers of difficulty will not overwhelm us. He will bring us through. When there is no place to go and no one cares, He is our refuge and helper. When we need a Word to carry us forward, His speaking will somehow sound through the silence. When we read the Isaiah texts and let them soak into our soul, we begin to understand the way they relate to a specific moment in history and our own as well.