Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Prophet of Advent - First Sunday of Advent B

Read Isaiah 1:1-9

Every Christmas Eve, we read the same passage from Isaiah 9:2-7, about the birth of a child, the one who is born for us: who will counsel us when we are troubled, who will be with us for all time, who will anoint us with the peace which is really the only gift we want every Christmas Day.

But before we can celebrate the birth of the Child, Isaiah wants us to understand why we need this little One, why we need to take the time during the season of Advent for preparation, for reflection, for waiting. Isaiah wants us to be able to appreciate the gift and let it change our lives, not just rip open the wrapping paper, and discard the Child as we move on to another package.

So let's invite Isaiah to be our traveling companion this Advent. He won't be the most pleasant of company at times (just like some family and friends!); he won't always say the right thing or the thing we want to hear (like some folks we know!); he'll say somethings intended to get our attention or under our skin (like other people we know).

But Isaiah will always, always point us to God. Sometimes (usually more often than we like) he will remind us of how we have not kept our part of the covenant. At other times (not as often as we need), he will remind us of God's promises to keep God's part of the covenant. We can always count on Isaiah to be honest, to be blunt - and to be caring and compassionate.

The American poet, Robert Frost, once wrote of the choice one must make between one road or the other. Isaiah, the poet of Advent, knows this is the choice all believers must make every day of their lives. He also knows that to follow God, we must, as Frost says, choose the road that is less travelled - the Advent road - because that is the one which makes the difference in our lives.

Prayer

We begin our journey once again, God of the prophets and pilgrims. Some with reluctance, some with joy,some with questions. Speak to us through Isaiah; speak to us through wonder; speak to us through those who will journey with us. Amen.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

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