42 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. 2He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. 3A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; 4he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.” 5This is what God the Lord says—the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: 6“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, 7to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. 8“I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. 9See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”
The Christmas Season has always been a time of anticipation. In my home the Christmas tree would go up and the home would be decorated as soon after Thanksgiving as the kids convinced mom and dad to pull the boxes out of storage. Dad would get the tree set up and mom would pull out all the old ornaments that we had gathered up over the years. They were an odd assortment that never matched. Unlike a more commercial tree that is focused on looking just right, our tree was a tree of Christmas memories with meaning and emotion attached to most every ornament hung. Once the decorations were in place, the anticipation began to build. As the weeks went along more and more gifts would appear under the tree. By the time Christmas morning came around, we already had a good four weeks to anticipate what we were going to find and nothing was better than digging into that shiny wrapping paper.
Our passage, in Isaiah 42, speaks of anticipation. Verse 9 says, “See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” What new things is God talking about? Verses 6 and 7 give a wonderful list from God’s commissioning of the Messiah: he will be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles; he will open blind eyes and set the captives free from their prisons and dungeons. Those are some bright shiny gifts to have under the tree!
Advent is about the coming of Christ. As we look back over the first coming of Christ, some 2000 years ago, we look forward to his promise to come again. In the mean-time, the gifts that were placed under the tree in Isaiah 42 are still being opened today. Jesus is the sacrifice God used to make a new covenant with you and I. Jesus is our light and, when you accept Him, your blind eyes will surely be open and you will be set free. Yet something new is still on the way. Jesus came; Jesus is coming again.
As you pray today, ponder the meaning of Advent. Consider those beautiful gifts Jesus brought at his first coming and remember what it was like to open them the first time. How did you feel? What led you to that moment? This should get you in the right frame of mind to anticipate Christ’s second coming.
This is the first Sunday in Advent and the beginning of the season culminating in Christmas. It will be easy to get caught up in its commercialization. Now is the time to set your mind on the real Christ of Christmas and what He came to do. Advent is a season of anticipation and Christmas will be here soon!