Advent 2021 – The Struggle

Has it been hard for you to get into the “spirit” of Christmas this year?
It certainly has been for me.
Like many of you, this year has been hard on my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

I have debated whether to even write a series of Advent blog posts this year.

Yet, I knew that if nothing else, I needed to get my head and my heart wrapped around the goodness of the Advent, of Immanuel – God with us, Jesus.

And so I prayed for the Lord’s help and began thumbing through the book of Isaiah to see the many passages that foretold the promise and hope of God entering His creation and living among us, fully God and fully human.

When I began Chapter 6, I only got as far as the first phrase in the first verse:

In the year that King Uzziah died…

(Isaiah 6:1a, English Standard Version)

When I read this opening phrase, I realized that Isaiah was in turbulent times as well. He felt the full impact of the unknown and the imminent changes happening before his eyes. King Uzziah had reigned for fifty-two years. Uzziah was likely the only ruler that Isaiah had ever known and lived under. What would happen to his country? What would the new ruler be like? Was Isaiah’s job (and his life) at risk? So many unknowns, risks, fears, and possible outcomes!

The struggle was real for Isaiah, just as it is for us.

So what happened?

Did Isaiah think wonderful thoughts and reason his way out of his gloom and helplessness? Did he grab whatever he could to protect and provide for himself, anticipating the hard times ahead? Did he complain to all his friends about the country falling down before his very eyes?

He may or may not have done all those things – the text doesn’t say.

So what does the text say?

…I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.

(Isaiah 6:1b-4, English Standard Version)

Isaiah was confronted with the vision of God Himself, in all His holiness and glory!

When I read this passage, I did not have a vision like Isaiah, but I was reminded immediately of God’s glory (His all-encompassing presence), and His holiness (His perfect moral purity, virtue, and love).

How could Isaiah survive in the presence of God? Why was he not instantly vaporized in the overwhelming presence of the Creator and Ruler of the universe?

The fact that Isaiah’s life was spared by the loving Creator of the world gives me a glimpse of hope and peace in this weary time.

And that’s a good first step on this year’s Advent journey.

What has been your journey leading up to this year’s Advent season?
What impact does Isaiah’s life and encounter with God have on your journey?


PS – in my next post, we’ll take a look at Isaiah’s response to his encounter with God.

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