Advent is often misunderstood in the evangelical world. For years, I saw it as a mere prelude to Christmas. Only recently have I started to search out the depths of the season. Advent is a season of absence, of waiting, of anticipation. In Advent we come face-to-face with the judgment of God before receiving His gospel.
The Hebrew prophets are foundational figures in the season of Advent. More than anyone, they understood the spiritual depravity of their culture and desperately tried to connect their people to the heart of God. In The Advent of Justice, the four authors (Brian J. Walsh, J. Richard Middleton, Mark Vander Vennen, and Sylvia Keesmaat) mine the riches of First Isaiah and offer both critique and hope to our own culture.
While every author had something valuable to add to the season, Brian J. Walsh’s writings for the first week of Advent stuck home the hardest. He tells the truth of the prophet clearly:
The problem is that good news without prophetic critique invariably is a cover-up. Good news that will not openly and honestly confront that which perpetuates brokenness and sin is not good news at all. An Advent without judgment isn’t Advent at all. It is a secular Christmas with a store-bought peace. (15)
These authors bring you face-to-face with judgment which will challenge the way you live. Your Christmas will be the richer for heeding them.
—Sylvia Keesmaat, ed., The Advent of Justice: A Book of Meditations (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2014).