O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence. Isaiah 64:1

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The season of Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ. Take a moment and imagine what it must have been like for the Jewish communities that were anxiously waiting for a messiah to deliver them. They were yearning through prayer for the Lord to save them from the wicked and their enemies that ruled over them. I can only guess that they were anticipating an intervention from the Lord that is outlined in the passage above: that the messiah would tear open the heavens and descend from his holy throne backed by an army, that he would put the fear of God into those who did not know his name, and that they will quake like the mountains at the Lord’s presence.

How ironic that when the heavens were torn, and God did descend into our world, that he was made known to us as a babe in Bethlehem, stealing into life in the quiet of night, in a stable with only the animals to witness. Those who did not know God did quake in fear. They even sent assassins to end the small child’s life. However, the hope for a light in the darkness endured. And that is what we do during the first Sunday of Advent: we light this candle as a symbol of hope. May Christ’s coming bring a new sense of hope to the world and to our lives. O come, O come Emmanuel.

Bryce Miller