The title of this blog post is taken from the first reading at Mass today, Isaiah 45.6-8, 18, 21-25. If you have time — and surely, you do have time — read the omitted verses as well. It is a magnificent piece of writing, expressing the power of God, his intimate connection with creation and his tender love towards all that is. I think the astronauts on the International Space Station, whether they be religious or not, must have something of the same sense of wonder and awe as the prophet Isaiah when they look back at the earth and see the beauty and fragility of our slowly-spinning blue globe.
There is a paradox here, as so often. The planet on which we live is torn by war and division, sullied by our abuse of the environment, its beauty equalled only by the brutality of its inhabitants (you and me, to speak plainly). But that is not the whole story. We may be just a little speck of life in the Universe, but a little speck with a glorious destiny. As Isaiah proclaims, our God is a God of integrity who will restore wholeness, a Saviour who will redeem our sin and failure. In these dark days, when the weather is bleak and the news full of stories of death and disaster, it can be hard to maintain hope, but that is preciasely why we are given Advent. These few days invite us to reflect on what it means not to have a Saviour, not to know the mercy of God, and, having reflected, to experience anew the hope which is already fulfilled in Christ. The Promise of the Messiah is for all generations, including our own.