Second Sunday of Advent – Peace
Reading: Isaiah 12
“Where were you when…?” has unfortunately become a question in which we share our personal experiences of communal suffering and brokenness. Each generation seems to have a singularly epic and often tragic moment that seals a particular “that day” into their collective memory.
Israel had enough of the tragic “that days.” Though they remembered how God had once led them out of Egypt with signs and wonders, those days of deliverance seemed almost legendary. Even the glory days of David and Solomon’s kingships were gone. For generations now, they had lived under the rule of wicked kings and under the constant threat from Assyria, Babylon, and Egypt, not to mention, the frequent incursions from Philistia, Edom, and Moab.
God’s people had repeatedly refused to embrace God’s ways, and so in righteous anger, God disciplined them. God allowed their enemies to drag them away and scatter them across the nations.
Yet, the story of God’s interactions with God’s people does not end with angry punishment. Even in disciplining them, God has their salvation and restoration in view. And not only theirs, but God also has the reconciliation of the whole world in view. Isaiah describes a coming day when God will restore his people. In “that day” God’s anger gives way to God’s comfort and God’s people will experience peace with God and with the nations around them. Peace – God’s shalom – will fill the earth.
Advent ushers us into God’s fulfillment of “that day.” We remember and celebrate God’s faithfulness in the birth of Jesus Christ, who came to save God’s people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). The angels’ announcement on “that day” declared “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
During Advent, we also anticipate Jesus’ second coming, when God’s peace will fill the earth. On “that day” the nations of the world will be gathered together in God’s presence (Revelation 7:9). No longer will they rage against God (Psalm 2) or threaten one another. In that day, the whole world will be at peace with God and at peace with each other. And, oh, what a day of rejoicing that will be!
Note: Thank you for reading this post, which comes from a daily devotional I’ve written for Advent this year, around the theme of “Hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ through Isaiah.” While our congregation walks through the devotional, I am posting the entries for each Sunday on this blog as a way of sharing a bit of our journey with all of you. The reflection from week 1 can be found here.