We are an Advent people who live in hope and trust in God's promises. The spirit of the Advent season is filled with images of some of the most powerful examples of this hope and trust. Two of the most important are the prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist.
Isaiah was witness to one of the most turbulent periods in the history of Israel, from both the religious and the political standpoint. Yet he was a beacon of hope for his people. He speaks of the nearness of God. He proclaims the truth about a God who takes an active part in the daily lives of his people - a God who comes to save. He opens the eyes of the blind, he clears the ears of the deaf, makes the lame walk and the mute speak.
Many years later the Baptist is full of questions. He wants to know who Jesus is and so he sends his followers to find out and to ask what can be expected from him.
Jesus proclaimed a vision of God's truth as it applies to human activity and relationships, proclaiming this truth publicly and courageously and in the face of constant threat and opposition. His mission was one of service to the poor and the desolate and of comforting His people. It was a proclamation that their slavery to sin and death had come to an end. It was a call to rejoice, for like a shepherd feeding his flock, the glory of the Lord was truly revealed.
He sends John’s disciples back to report about what they saw. Isaiah's prophecy was fulfilled when people met Christ, "Here is your God… who comes to save you." And like them, we too are to "go and tell" what we have seen and heard in Christ. We do this by: giving sight to those who cannot see; by enabling the physical and emotional crippled, communicating with those who are disenfranchised by church and society and by finding ways to give value to human life.
People will never believe us until they can see our lives as authentic sign of Jesus’ on-going presence in the world, until they see us guiding the footsteps of the blind, carrying the crippled to places where they can receive help, and finding ways to help the voices of the poor be heard.
We are, indeed, an Advent people. But we are also a messianic people who pray today to be faithful signs to the world that the ancient longings of an exiled people have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The Advent scriptures challenge us to live the mystery of Christ in our time as we too “Go and tell others.”
Advent calls each of us to transformation, to contribute to a critical mass which might just tip the balance of the global scales towards harmony and peace rather than discord, division and irretrievable destruction.
Our God is the God of life, abundance, deliverance and joy. That's the Good News that consoles us, gives meaning to our lives and challenges us to cry out: “Be strong, fear not; Here is your God.”