The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.’ Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God’s people; no traveller, not even fools, shall go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (Isaiah 35:1-10)
The coming of the Lord will mean a new world, with a new order of things. The expected will no longer be welcomed. The same will no longer be tolerated. The barren will be fruitful. The sad will be joyful. The secular will give way to the sacred. Such is the message of the prophet for the people of faith: God has done, and will continue doing, a great thing. Such is the message of Advent. Christ's first coming has brought these things and many more to the lives of those who have received Him and live in a relationship with Him. New converts are daily receiving these manifold blessings; but the day is coming when ALL will see just what God has had in store for the world.
God has a role in all of this and so do we. Notice the second part of this reading; we are to help the weak and be proclaimers of a new message, "Be strong, do not fear!" We can point to our lives and the way we have been transformed and to those being transformed around us; God is a saving God! Salvation has brought new sight to the blind; people are seeing the hand of God at work in the world. The deaf now hear things they had never before stopped to hear. The lame are now active, leaping at chances to serve God, and the once quiet are now singing for joy in loud voices. Areas of drought are now awash with God's grace, new life is present where once there was nothing. This is God at work. And this is us working alongside Him.
Tell somebody the Good News: God is now here and at work, join us!
PRAYER: Loving God, thank You for the joy that is ours. May our lips and limbs proclaim the Good News. Use us to bring others to the place where You need all of us to be. This we pray in Christ Jesus' precious and powerful name, amen!
Have a great and blessed day in the Lord!