Thought for the week, 3 December 2017

By Tammy Tearoe

The words of the prophet Isaiah in today’s reading call to mind Mount Anong, a simmering, near boiling, volcano on the island of Bali. The mountain has been giving signals that it will erupt since at least September prompting evacuations and world-wide warnings of potential disruption caused by the ash cloud billowing from its vent. Residents unwilling, or unable to flee watch warily whilst donning face masks to minimise the inhalation of toxic smoke and ash.

We know ancient people equated natural disasters and phenomena like violent volcanic eruptions with the wrath of god. Isaiah implores God to step down from heaven, to make the mountains tremble and disrupt the wicked ways of the nation and call them back to obedience. He’s looking for a dramatic entrance and intervention by the Almighty.

Today we embark on the Advent journey to Christmas, the time when Christians believe the words of the prophets are fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. How surprised would Isaiah have been to discover that when God did step into our world God wasn’t accompanied by earthquakes and eruptions but a chorus of angels and the frail first cries of a baby lying in a manger?