And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
Luke 1:76 (Both verses King James Version)
Advent is a time of prophecy: God is calling us to prepare for the coming of His/Her Christ. Heaven knows we need to hear the words of God’s prophets.
I repeated Isaiah 40:3 because it’s a fitting verse. Here Isaiah calls for us to prepare the way of the Lord; to allow God access (a highway) in the desert. This prophecy was spoken to Israel by God at a time when Israel was exiled in Babylon (6th Century BCE). This Scripture was symbolic of a new exodus back to Israel led by God. Israel did eventually return home…
However let’s fast-forward to the late 1st Century BCE. Although exile was no longer the rule of the day, Israel was now under Roman rule and smack in the middle of Rome’s vast empire. In this scenario we see Zechariah the priest prophesying over his newborn son, John. Zechariah spoke that John (the future Baptist) would go before the Lord to “prepare his ways.” Smacks of Isaiah doesn’t it? If we were to look at Luke 1, we see that hope that Zechariah had for Israel (verses 68-79). Eventually, John would prepare the way of the Lord, but as the forerunner for Jesus Christ-God’s ultimate prophet.
Today, in a world full of “fake news” and sound bites so prevalent you’d distrust your own mama, we need to prepare the way of the Lord. Advent is a time for us to listen to the words of Isaiah and Luke as they prepare us for the coming Christ. We need that hope that we read about in our hopeless time. As I write this, we read about the Aleppo Offensive and the Berlin terror incident. We hear about assassinations, terrorism, gloomy economic pictures-enough to bring hopelessness-even at Advent. That’s why we need to hear prophecy at Advent; words of hope for us in the 21st Century CE.
What is all this prophecy? That God can bring us out of sin through His/Her Christ. God wants us to live the Kingdom life of truth, love, peace, justice and freedom. God is calling us out of the noise and fake news of our society, to embrace the Divine. Thank God we have the words of His/Her prophets to read, meditate, and act on. We’ve been in exile from our true home, God; and under the rule of sin’s illusions. Now it’s time to come home to the Kingdom of God and live the life He/She desires for us to live.
Please God, send us your prophets so we can hear You this Advent Season and always.
(Image: World Trade Center, September 2016. By Me)