Isaiah 2: 1-5
The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.2 In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. 3Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!
Advent is a season of waiting. Waiting for God to step into the world again in a way that helps us hear the simple story of Christ’s birth in new ways that make us marvel and believe.
The prophet Isaiah saw something beyond anything that the people of his day could imagine: a time when all the nations, Jews and Gentiles alike, would stream to the top of God’s high mountain to learn God’s ways and walk in God’s paths. The whole world would be turned to God. And peace would come. This kind of peace felt as impossible to them then as it does to us now. Sometimes our world seems anything but peaceful.
Daily, we are drawn into the hustle and bustle of this season, thinking about presents, decorated cookies, Christmas letters, tree trimming, holiday tables, and overnight guests. We’re caught up in worry, grief, and stress. The nightly news shouts war, violence, hunger, poverty, estrangement, and murder. When will peace come? When will peace become greater than our lengthy lists and pervasive perfectionism? When will peace dispel our sadness? When will peace overcome needless aggression unleashed on innocent victims?
Isaiah encourages us to see beyond the world as it is and hope for more. To recognize that God is always up to something : bringing light when much around us feels like darkness, and calling us to walk in that light.
Watch and see! Who knows? God might even redeem the world through a tiny Baby! Or restore the world as Isaiah predicted: ending wars and bringing peace forever when Christ comes again.
Lord our God, we pray for peace in our lives and in every corner of the world. Help us walk in your light. We wait with eager expectation for all you will do. Amen.
Contributed by Rev. Jan Butin