Light two purple candles
Read: Isaiah 40:3-5
A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
On the second week of this year’s Advent celebration, I have chosen to celebrate the hope we have in Jesus Christ. It is the hope of salvation from our sins, hope of comfort and strength in this mortal realm, and hope in His return to claim His church and set things right on earth. Isaiah is often called the “fifth gospel” for a very good reason. The whole book is littered with references to Jesus Christ, particularly His redemptive work on the cross and His future kingship over earth.
Here, as chapter 40 begins, Isaiah is prophesying to Israel in exile — an event that happened 125 years after Isaiah’s time but was prophesied long beforehand — and he relays an important message to them. He is saying, “Take comfort, my people. The troubled times will soon be at an end.” Then he sees this vision of a man calling out in the wilderness to prepare the way for the Lord’s coming. “The Lord is coming?” He might inquire. Yes, came the reply. The Lord is coming and everybody will see His glory and His arm of salvation. He will be both a shepherd and a just king. And Israel will find safety under His arms. This is the hope the exiles found from the writings of the prophet. Salvation and restoration are coming in the form of the Lord Himself.
There is a very famous Christmas song that speaks of their longing for the Hope of Israel.
O come, O come Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lowly exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! O Israel, To thee shall come Emmanuel
“Our Father in heaven, we light this candle to thank You for the hope of salvation that we have in Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We thank You for His atoning blood, shed on the cross for our sins, and that through His resurrection we might have life in His name. We thank You for the hope found in His first coming and we grab hold of the hope of His return. It is in His holy name we pray. Amen.”