Wednesday December 3rd- The Fourth Day of Advent

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This passage in Isaiah has inspired so many different musical interpretations. In terms of famous hymns, this is likely the most famous one that comes to my mind.
This passage in Isaiah has inspired so many different musical interpretations. In terms of famous hymns, this is likely the most famous one that comes to my mind.

Let’s dwell a little with Isaiah this morning. Specifically, consider this central Advent text from Second Isaiah, Isaiah 40:1-11.

Within this text we hear “Comfort, Comfort O My People,” but we also hear this call to prepare the way, alerting us to something and someone coming. There will be a change. Creation will be restored.

The prophet calls, “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.”

What does it mean to prepare the way? What might it mean that every valley shall be lifted up, and uneven ground level? These are two important questions.

On the one hand the idea of “preparing the way” speaks to the need to be aware, to reflect and listen to know what it means to prepare. That listening and awareness though leads to action.

When we hear “that every valley shall be lifted up, and uneven ground level,” we are seeing a glimpse of the changing work of God. This seems to be a foretaste, if you will, of the acts of restoration which God is doing in creation, but also in our lives. There will be changes as the kingdom of God continues to break in. (We see this theme repeated and expanded upon in Advent and Christmas especially in hearing from the first couple chapters of the Gospel of Luke.)

One of the reasons I love this passage so much is that it has been set to music so many times. Instead of closing with another question today, listen to this choral arrangement of “Words of Isaiah,” and see if you hear, feel and experience this text in a new way.

Image Credit: Comfort, Comfort O My People

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