“O that you would tear open the heavens and come down… when you did awesome deeds that we did not expect… no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for Him…Yet, O Lord, you are our father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
These words lifted from the passage of Isaiah proclaim the hope at Advent: God “coming down” to be in our midst filling the intimate spaces of our lives. God’s voice speaking to us, God’s countenance shining upon us, God’s hand shaping and guiding us.
In Advent the church begins again the pilgrimage through the life of Jesus. As in all new birth it begins with a relationship. The Hebrew prophets are relying upon the covenant between God and creation and more specifically, the covenant relationship between God and the Hebrew people. Isaiah is looking around and seeing little evidence of a relationship between God and God’s people. And so, a hope is conceived in the imagination of the prophet. The hope being that God “come down” from the high and inapproachable places to dwell amidst the people.
In his own day, Isaiah recognized the need to touch, see, smell, and feel God’s presence. And so the idea was conceived that God would walk among us. In our flesh we could know God in the flesh. Our eyes could behold. Our hands could touch. Our ears could hear the word of God reverberating to the depth of our hearts. This was the dream of the Hebrew prophets conceived centuries before the birth of Jesus in the town of Bethlehem.