Advent is a season of looking forward and looking back. Looking forward to Christmas obviously and the celebration of the Incarnate one born in Bethlehem. In retrospect, it is also the time to remember the promise of fulfillment that the prophet Isaiah pictures so beautifully in images of peace, harmony and new life.
And yet, Advent also means a coming now, and the realization that what we are looking for has already come among us and continues to surprise us every day. As Haugen writes in verse one of "Awake!": Come as a baby weak and poor, to bring all hearts together; he opens wide the heav'nly door and lives now inside us forever."
In this season of waiting and watching we will be focusing on the Old Testament texts appointed for Advent, all from Isaiah, and summed up well in the 3rd verse of Mary Haugen's beautiful hymn:
"In darkest night his coming shall be, when all the world is despairing,
As morning light so quiet and free, so warm and gentle and caring.
Then shall the mute break forth in song, the lame shall leap in wonder,
The weak be raised above the strong, and weapons be broken asunder."
Advent 1 November 27 Isaiah 2:1-5 Wake up to peace!
Weapons of war are transformed into instruments of peace!
Advent 2 December 4 Isaiah 11:1-10 Wake up to harmony!
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb!
Advent 3 December 11 Isaiah 35:1-10 Wake up to joy!
The desert shall rejoice and blossom!
Advent 4 December 18 Isaiah 7:10-16 Wake up to promise!
A young woman will bear a son and name him Emmanuel!
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