Isaiah 62:1 For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch. 2 The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. 3 You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 4 You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married. 5 For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your builder marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. 6 Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I have posted sentinels; all day and all night they shall never be silent. You who remind the LORD, take no rest, 7 and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it renowned throughout the earth. 8 The LORD has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm: I will not again give your grain to be food for your enemies, and foreigners shall not drink the wine for which you have labored; 9 but those who garner it shall eat it and praise the LORD, and those who gather it shall drink it in my holy courts. 10 Go through, go through the gates, prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway, clear it of stones, lift up an ensign over the peoples. 11 The LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to daughter Zion, "See, your salvation comes; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him." 12 They shall be called, "The Holy People, The Redeemed of the LORD"; and you shall be called, "Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken."
The recurring theme in the words of the prophet Isaiah was that descendants of Abraham are ignoring their God-directed way of life, and his task was to warn them of impending doom. History showed that they were carried off into exile in Babylon. The above passage comes late in this event, when words of hope are offered to soften the blow. As they face a life far from the homeland, they are given hope: this was not the end - they would return. So send messengers to prepare for this event: Go through, go through the gates, prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway, clear it of stones, lift up an ensign over the peoples
Christmas invites us to ‘prepare the way of the Lord’. We do this with deliberation and intent, fully aware that the broken and God-ignoring nature of our world needs hope beyond the confines of our cynical rationalism.
First Sunday in Advent
2. Preparing the Way
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 20.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.