Advent Devotion for Monday, December 2
By Victor Minetola
Read Isaiah 2:1–5
And so this is Advent. On the surface, we know that Advent is the season that leads up to Christmas. Even in the secular world, you can buy Advent calendars that help build up the anticipation during the 24 days before Christmas. Below the surface, though, it is so much more.
To be sure, Advent is about preparing us to celebrate Jesus’ birth—the word comes from the Latin adventus, which means “to come.” Advent is about Jesus coming as the baby born to a virgin in a manger; Advent is also about Jesus coming again in glory, ushering in His kingdom, which will have no end.
This passage from Isaiah begins what is known as an “oracle of redemption.” Isaiah just got done writing an oracle of judgment in chapter 1, and he follows it up with this. Note that he starts out by saying “in the last days.” There are some who say “the last days” began when Jesus was born; there are others who say “the last days” will begin when Jesus comes again.We believe that the Kingdom of heaven is both now and not yet.
Isaiah goes on to say that in the last days, the nations—Jew and Gentile—will “stream” to the mountain of the Lord. He says the Lord will “judge between the nations,” which at first blush brings up images of fire and brimstone. But look at what follows—“and will settle disputes for many peoples.” This is imagery of God bringing peace among the nations, among all people, and putting an end to war and strife.
And then we get the familiar words of beating “swords into plowshares” and “spears into pruning hooks.” An interesting thing about swords and spears—they are both instruments of war, and they both cut. Plowshares and pruning hooks? They still cut, but instead of being used to cut people, they are used to prepare the ground for planting and to promote growth and harvest the fruit.
When Jesus comes to join us in our humanity, He inaugurates His kingdom of peace. While we wait with hope and anticipation for Him to return and bring His kingdom to culmination, we are called to be bearers of peace—even when we see war and strife all around us. As the apostle Paul writes to the Romans, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
Using the words of Saint Francis of Assisi,
We pray: “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.” Even so, Lord Jesus, quickly come and be our Prince of Peace. Amen.