Isaiah continues to prophesy the coming messiah in terms that gladden the hearts of those who hope God will put an end to their misery. This messiah will comfort the meek and the afflicted, while judging the evildoer.

God’s messiah will also draw the nations that have formerly rejected God and His ways into obedient relationship. Consider the constancy of God’s global mission from the days of Abraham, when God called his servant to be a blessing to the nations. God doesn’t change, nor does He change His purposes or mission. Thus, it is fitting that God’s messiah will not only bring peace for Israel, but also brings redemption for the Assyrians and Egyptians; for black, white, Asian, and Hispanic. To Isaiah, hoping in the messiah meant delighting in God’s redemption and love for all peoples, irrespective of the boundaries of geography or nationality. To be lukewarm about God’s salvation and embrace of all peoples is to reject God’s salvific thrust.

Advent isn’t a season where we simply rejoice in God’s personal salvation for us. Rather it is a time to renew our gladness in the grace that spans oceans and opposition. At Advent we ought to take time to rejoice in a God whose love is genuinely wider, greater in breadth than we realize in our times of superficial tolerance and token multi-culturalism. To celebrate Advent appropriately, we must embrace difference, for this is what it means to embrace God’s redemption and His messiah’s work.