LIVING HOPE

ADVENT reflections

As we journey towards Christmas this year, we know that everything will be different. 
To help us on our pilgrimage, we asked 25 people to prepare a meditation
for us to read and listen to every day through Advent. 
We are delighted to share their work with you.

God bless you as you read, listen and pray.

DECEMBER 2

Day 2: Isaiah 42: 1-9

‘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.
He will not shout or cry out,
    or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
    he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
    In his teaching the islands will put their hope.’

This 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:
‘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,
to open eyes that are blind,
    to free captives from prison
    and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

‘I am the Lord; that is my name!
    I will not yield my glory to another
    or my praise to idols.
See, the former things have taken place,
    and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
    I announce them to you.’

Reflection

Besides the passages in the Old Testament that point to the birth of a Saviour, there many other passages that point to what this Saviour will be like as a mature man and this reading from Isaiah 42 is one of these. In Matthew 12 the writer of the Gospel specifically quotes the opening verses of this chapter and applies them to Jesus.

As I read verses 2 to 4 and thought about them I noticed two things.

Firstly I noticed the gentleness and sensitivity of Jesus. He is not loud and aggressive – He won’t shout or raise his voice in the streets. He won’t force himself on you. He won’t break a bruised reed or snuff out a smouldering wick. In other words He will care about the damaged reed and not just discard it and He will have patience with the candle that is struggling to keep alight. What a lovely picture this is of the compassion and encouragement of Jesus for those of us who are bruised or damaged and those whose faith is flickering and not very strong.

But secondly I noticed the determination and faithfulness of Jesus – He will not falter or be discouraged until He has established justice on earth. We know that during His ministry He spoke many times of what would have to happen, that forgiveness for us and justice for the earth could only be achieved through the cross and He did not falter or give up, but followed it through to death and then to resurrection and ultimate victory.

Perhaps He is saying to us through this verse ‘don’t give up or be discouraged, however hard things seem to be. I am faithful and I won’t falter and I am with you. In me you can have hope.’          

Peter Darwent