"I am the Lord, your God, who grasp your right hand;
Isaiah is prophesying to the Jewish community living in Babylon. Imagine the situation. The Jews have been conquered by the Babylonians: their cities have been dismantled; their sacred temple destroyed; their homeland devastated. Now exiled in Babylon, they lived as a subject people, continually pressured to abandon their sacred Law and traditions and to adopt the ways of their conquerers. Many were executed for refusing to adapt. It is hard to imagine a more dire situation.
But Isaiah's oracle promises hope:
And after forty years in exile the Persian emperor permits the Jews to return their homeland:
We are the New Israel! Advent is here. Not unlike the Jews of old, the Advent Season invites us to realize our desperate need for a fuller coming of the Lord into our world and into our personal lives.
We listen to the oracle of Isaiah and we hear the promise of hope. We long for a fuller coming of the Lord to give us new guidance and strength for serving God in every stress-filled area of our lives: personal relationships, unemployment, financial stress, career failure, health, aging.
And the Lord says to us as He said to the Jews in Babylon:
Our redeemer is the Holy One of Israel!
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