First Sunday of Advent

Today, on the first day of the new church year, we read from Isaiah. He was a prophet of Israel who lived and wrote in the 700s B.C.E, long before the advent of Christianity. Yet from its beginning Christianity has relied heavily on Isaiah for various reasons, not the least of which is the perceived prediction of Jesus’ birth. Various Christian beliefs echo today’s passage, include Jesus’s return as a judge and a new heaven on earth. Many imagine that once this comes about humanity “will beat their swords into mattocks and their spears into pruning-knives; nation will not lift sword against nation, nor ever again be trained for war.