These readings proclaim messages of hope in the most bleak situations. At the time of Isaiah, Judah was a small state dominated by empires on either side who sought to use them against one another.
Out of their vulnerable state, The Lord promises a turn around in Isaiah 2, where nations will realise the value of God’s holy house and come streaming to it in order to learn God’s ways and how to walk in his paths.
Even though Judah was reduced to a stump, a shoot shall come forth, a new leader upon whom the spirit of the Lord will rest. The Christian faith sees this particular prophecy of Isaiah 11 fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 35 continues the proclamation of transformation, of healing and strengthening, of dry lands producing springs of water, and of a way made clear for those of the Lord to return. And then Isaiah 7 prophecies the birth of Immanuel (God with us) in a time when the people and king were so low, they would not even ask for a sign from God.
The message of hope and peace is one of urgency, both back then, and for our world today. The coming Christmas celebrations that are typical of our society are more of a distraction from the pain of the world rather than a time to renew our hope and faith for a better world.
While it is good to celebrate, let us pray that the saving and transforming grace of The Lord, prophesied and proclaimed, spread further and deeper into our world.
With love and peace in The Lord,