Editor's note: "Unmasking Advent: the arrival of a Savior in our lives" is a sampling of biblical meditations composed by members of the Concordia University Wisconsin community. It is our prayer that you will take time during the Advent season to read and reflect upon God's Word and await the coming of Jesus with newfound anticipation and zeal through the Holy Spirit.

December 7 – A hope that is not of this world

Isaiah 24:1-13 and 1 John 1:1-2:14

The contrast between today’s two readings is stark. In Isaiah, we feel despair that affects everyone, no matter the station in life—whether people or priests, buyer or seller, creditor or debtor. Even the earth despairs, as it is utterly empty and utterly plundered…the earth mourns and withers…the highest people of the earth languish (Isaiah 24:3,4). The relentless repetition of the misery creates a sense of loneliness, abandonment, hopelessness. Who would want to live in such a dark world? This is a world without God.

But then, 1 John says there is light, truth, and hope! We are told we have an Advocate who comes proclaiming eternal life, that the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining(1 John 2:8). When Jesus came into the world, God came into the world, making us whole. And we know that even the earth will be made whole. I find that to be the great Christmas message: Christ came to save the world.

I think about this when I look around at what is happening today. Yes, we are in troubled times, but these are not unique to human history. Isaiah reminds us of that. And yet we know this is not permanent; this is not our fate. 1 John reminds us that Christ provides hope always, especially in troubled times, and that Christ has taken away not only our sins, but the sins of the world. And that is exactly what the world needs.

What an amazing act of love! I have been blessed to part of Concordia for over twenty years. This is a place of grace, caring, and fellowship built around God’s Word and the real sense of Christian community. Celebrating Christ’s birth with friends and colleagues is a great joy. To work and fulfill my vocation among this community of believers is an incredible gift. May the gladness of this season fill your hearts as Christ fills us all with hope.

DR. STEVE MONTREAL, is Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. He has served at Concordia since 1998.

View a full schedule of “An uncommon Advent” readings here.

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