Welcome to Advent

[OK, I know this is a couple of days late.  Deal with it.]

It is now time to take a break from chronicling the Many Misadventures of Mark Richt, and enter into the season of Advent.

This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

In the last days

the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
as chief among the mountains;
it will be raised above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.

Many people will come and say,

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.

Come, O house of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the Lord.

Isaiah 2:1-5

The story of the Old Testament Jews was a continuous cycle of rebellion, judgment, repentance, and salvation.  This cycle reached its ultimate climax in the Babylonian exile of 586 BC when Jerusalem was sacked, the temple was destroyed, the Jews were forcibly removed from their homeland, and every vestige of their identity as God’s people was stripped away.

The promises in the above verses took on a special poignancy during this time, as the Jews longed for a return to their homeland.  Though they eventually returned, it was painfully clear that much of what was promised had yet to be fulfilled.  The nations most obviously did not submit to the rule of the one true God, nor were they beating a path to Jerusalem to learn His ways.  There was still conflict and strife and war, people beating plowshares into swords and pruning hooks into spears and not the other way around.

And so the Jews waited.  They cried out to God to hear them, to end their misery, and to bring about the new world that He had promised.

For the next four weeks, we join with them.

We join them, but from a slightly different perspective.  Christ has already come into the world.  He has launched the initial offensive that will result in the ultimate defeat of the forces of darkness in our world.  This defeat has not yet come–not by any stretch of the imagination.  Nations still train for war, oppression runs rampant in the world, people do not submit to the authority of the one true God.  But we wait, for we know that Christ has already come and He is coming again.

Welcome to Advent.

For more on Advent, check out the writeup on churchyear.net.  It will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Advent.