First Sunday after Christmas, Year B, Old Testament
Scripture: Isaiah 61:10 – 62:3
Much of Isaiah focuses on a people who have been banished from their homeland and lived in exile for decades. We hear in earlier sections of the book of the prophet Isaiah as the people long for the sweet deliverance of God allowing them to return home. In the section of Isaiah we read today, we hear part of a song of praise sung to God in thanksgiving for their long-awaited homecoming. The first half of the passage (verses 61:10-11) is delivered from the perspective of the community singing to God while the second half (verses 62:1-3) is turned around as God sings to the people. In the first half, the people use imagery of both a wedding and a garden being prepared for fruit to spring forth. In the second half of the passage, God is promising the people that although they have returned to a land that is damaged after their time in exile, God’s will is that the land will be redeemed along with the people. God is promising to restore Judah to its former glory.