We’re nearing the end of Advent and of 2022. Advent is not only a time of preparation and waiting but also a time of discomfort a time to wake up, to focus on what is important, to do justice and love kindness. No doubt there will be many reflections on what a tumultuous year it has been. The environment is no exception. As we prepare for the coming of the Christ child, Advent awakes in us the need for us to recognise and repent of how we have harmed the planet which then enables us to turn around and find hope that leads to renewed life with thanksgiving. Joy shall come in the wilderness….. rehear the words of Isaiah:
Israelis are serious about water conservation; after all, they live in the desert. They’re so serious about it, that in the 20th century, they invented “drip irrigation”, the first watering innovation in thousands of years. Instead of flooding fields with water and fertilizer, they direct the exact amount needed to each individual plant.
But imagine what it was a like in the time of the prophet Isaiah, when years of drought meant misery and starvation…
Now imagine what it was like when finally the rains came. There is nothing as joyous as wildflowers blooming after a desert rain. Seeds and bulbs that have been dormant for years burst forth with wild abandon, bringing insects, birds and small lizards close behind. Everyone celebrates a desert bloom in the parched land of Israel.
This is the hope for restoration that the prophet speaks of in Isaiah 35, the passage on which the traditional Israeli song “Joy Shall Come” is based.
“Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days, the wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses...for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” Can you imagine? After years of drought, in a broken world, the Lord will come! There will be singing and dancing, and much joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear.
Get up and sing and dance for joy, this week, - the Messiah is coming! Is there any other response?
Advent blessings to all
Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do and seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day,
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, "Come Lord Jesus!'
- Henri J.M. Nouwen