We all need a good pep talk every now and then. Sports teams rely on coaches and captains to fire them up after a disappointing defeat. Music ensembles turn to their directors for inspiration when efforts to create beautiful music don’t seem to be bearing any fruit. Students lean on teachers, parents, and adult role models for encouragement and guidance when note taking and completion of homework result in lower than anticipated test scores. Adults appreciate counsel and affirmation from supervisors and co-workers when efforts in the place of employment appear to come up short.
The people to whom Isaiah was speaking in this passage were no different. Relieved to have returned to their homeland from exile, they were still confronted with suffering and discouragement. So, with the Spirit of the Lord empowering and emboldening him, the prophet gave them a good pep talk. To them Isaiah spoke (and still speaks to us!) of good news for the poor, healing for the brokenhearted, freedom for the captives, comfort for those who mourn.
The season of Advent is one of hope: a reflection of hope for the baby born long ago into the world, a hope for Christ to enter our hearts and minds as we live out these days, and a forward thinking hope for the second coming of Christ, when all things shall be made new.
Are you discouraged? Look for an Isaiah around you to help put life’s challenges and struggles in perspective. It’s amazing how God will place such people before us if we dare to look. Are you feeling that you are sitting in a good place at this moment in your life? Then be an Isaiah to those around you who are looking for encouragement. Together, may we use this season of hope to trade out the world’s ashes for God’s beauty. May we turn in our spirit of despair for a garment of praise. With chins up, may we change our course from those things that darken our lives in order to follow in the path of the world’s one true Light – Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
Director of Music