Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise from the end of the earth!
Let the sea roar and all that fills it,
the coastlands and their inhabitants.
Let the desert and its towns lift up their voice,
the villages that Kedar inhabits;
let the inhabitants of Sela sing for joy,
let them shout from the tops of the mountains.
Let them give glory to the Lord,
and declare his praise in the coastlands.
The Lord goes forth like a soldier,
like a warrior he stirs up his fury;
he cries out, he shouts aloud,
he shows himself mighty against his foes.
For a long time I have held my peace,
I have kept still and restrained myself;
now I will cry out like a woman in labor,
I will gasp and pant.
I will lay waste mountains and hills,
and dry up all their herbage;
I will turn the rivers into islands,
and dry up the pools.
I will lead the blind
by a road they do not know,
by paths they have not known
I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I will do,
and I will not forsake them.
They shall be turned back and utterly put to shame—
those who trust in carved images,
who say to cast images,
“You are our gods.”
Listen, you that are deaf;
and you that are blind, look up and see!
The Advent season provides us a time to “be still” and know that God is God. Verse fourteen states, “For a long time I have kept silent. I have been quiet and held myself back.” Perhaps we should step back and realize there were four hundred years of “silence” between the last of the prophets and the appearance of John the Baptist in the desert proclaiming, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
Amazing how we tend to rush toward Christmas. By November, lights are already appearing in various places. Halloween stuff is being replaced by Christmas décor and shopping for just the appropriate gifts for those on our lists. But Advent reminds us to contemplate the arrival of God’s greatest gift to humanity, his one and only Son. John tells us, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” May we pause and reflect, even meditate on the first great doctrine of the Christian faith: The Incarnation. Yesuah/Jesus, whose name means “YHWH Saves,” is unique among all the “founders” of the world’s three monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. I first came to Peachtree under the ministry of Dr. Jim Collins. One of the things I recall he often said, “At Peachtree, we are not about “religion.” Religion kills people. Jesus brings people together.”
As in many ways we rush toward Christmas, Advent provides a “holy hush”—a time of introspection, illumination, and reflection as each candle of the Advent wreath reminds us of the entry of the Light into this sin-darkened world. Isaiah entreats us: “Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth. You who go down to the sea and all that is in it, you islands and all who live them. Let the desert and its town raise their voices rejoice….let them shout from the mountain tops, Let them give glory to the Lord and proclaim his name…he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.”
by Rev. Bob Tyler