I AM THE LORD AND THERE IS NO OTHER; I FORM THE LIGHT, AND CREATE THE DARKNESS, I MAKE WELL-BEING AND CREATE WOE. The prophet known as Second Isaiah records a number of insights into the activity of God that are the most significant in the whole of the Hebrew Bible. His contributions to revelation include a profound understanding of creation as well as God’s plan of salvation. The detailed accounts of the suffering servant are the most moving anticipation of our Lord’s passion and death in all the Old Testament. In today’s text Isaiah’s words concerning God as creator are clearer and explicit theologically than the Priestly account that form the opening pages of the Bible, though both present God as creator of all. The earlier Babylonian creation account presents the world’s origin brought about by the god as a reworking of the primitive, pre-existing chaos. Creation consisted in giving form to this formless matter. Isaiah, however, make it a point to state that God creates not only light but darkness, not only what is a source of satisfaction but also is master of unhappiness.

Having first presented God is his transcendent power and majesty, our prophet comments further on the attitudes and activities of this almighty creator showing Him to be benevolent and exercising foresight so as to assure the well-being of His people. “Turn to me and be safe”, says the Lord. L established the earth not to be a waste, but a home to be lived in.

The point of the Liturgy’s presenting us with these teachings of the most insightful of Israel’s prophets at this season of Advent is to stimulate us to keener awareness of the marvelous care that the majestic Father and Creator of all the universe shows us in sending his own beloved Son into this world as our Savior. Truly to realize something of the infinite power and intelligence of our Creator is essential to our understanding who it is who comes to us at Christmas. Jesus is revealed at his baptism in the Jordan as the Son of God in whom the Father is well pleased. To realize the transcendent power and goodness of this God who offers His own beloved Son so that we might be received into his own intimate circle is to grasp something of the worth and nobility of the child born for us. In the Gospel this morning we are given by the Lord himself a series of very specific instances of his goodness and power, deployed out of love for the happiness of people. “The blind recover their sight, cripples walk, lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the poor [that includes us sinners] have the good news preached to them.”

The more sensitive, vivid, and exalted our understanding of God, our Father, Creator, and Redeemer, the wider we open our heart and the more focused our desire to receive his beloved Son. May this Eucharist with its readings and the communion we are offered with the Lord of glory stimulate us to prepare our spirit with ardent faith and loving desire to welcome the Father’s gift who is Christ Jesus, born for our salvation of the ever Virgin Mary.

Abbot John Eudes Bamberger

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