Todays passages are Isaiah 40:1-5 and Luke 1:67-80.
With just two more sleeps till Christmas, some of us will be full of anxious anticipation as what is coming while others are racing around making sure that something will be coming on Christmas morning. At some point in life we transition from the childhood longing for Christmas to the Adult who becomes responsible for making the things children long for come to fruition. We look forward to Christmas in different ways… and we look forward to different things. I’m looking forward to the marriage of my son in about 6 months time. I anticipate a great day of joy and celebration when the wedding day arrives.
We pick up Isaiah at the start of Chapter 40, conscious of the chapters prior which have talked about the distress coming to Jerusalem due to the rebellion of the people against God. A time of great exile is coming for Israel. The tone changes quickly in Chapter 40, with words of comfort, not judgement, for Jerusalem. Another day will come when
A voice of one calling:
In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God…
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed
The exile will not be the end. Another great day will come where Jerusalem will be comforted and the glory of God revealed.
We know when Christmas is coming. I know the day my son will be married. We wait, but with a definite timeline. The Israelites waited in hope not knowing when this great day would come.
Fast forward 700 years or so years later. After living in this great anticipation and expectation, trusting that God would come to his people and reveal his glory again we find a Father full of joy at the birth of his child:
Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a horn[a] of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David (Luke 1:68-69)
The Lord has come to his people.
The Lord has redeemed his people.
The time of exile is over.
The glory of God will be revealed.
Who is this child? Luke makes it clear in Luke 3:4-6 (notice the similarities and the difference in the Isaiah quote). He is the one preparing the way for the Lord’s salvation.
As we continue to prepare for Christmas, may we long for the coming of God in the lives of those around us; and may we be filled with praise to God for what he has done in freeing his people from captivity.
May you have a Happy and Blessed Christmas