Yesterday I had the great privilege of singing my new favorite advent hymn with my second oldest daughter, Zoie. This was a first for us, and I was so very proud of her. The song we shared is called Comfort, Comfort Now My People by Pages CXVI. I have placed the original lyric video at the end of this post so that you can enjoy listening to the song.
I chose this song specifically because it matched so well with our focus around the theme of peace on the fourth Sunday of advent. The song was inspired by an old hymn written by Johann Olearius, in 1671, which is a creative expression of the first five verses of Isaiah chapter 40.
Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
3 A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” – Isaiah 40:1-5 (NIV)
These few verses, like the entire Biblical story, reveal a God who is constantly pursuing peace with His people. Isaiah is one of many prophets that God spoke through to remind the Israelites that His offer of peace still stands and its fruition is on the horizon. This offer of comfort and peace is simply a reflection of God’s promise to make all things, His entire creation, new.
Ultimately, this message that the prophet Isaiah spoke was intended to stir up hope in the people of God so that they wouldn’t give up on believing that God was still intent on keeping His promises. They were encouraged to put off fear and doubt, and rather embrace the peace of God as they awaited the advent of God’s Messiah, through whom the people of God could say, “the Kingdom of our God is now here!”