Dear Isaiah,
I have read your report. Please forward my concerns to the messengers.

By now, some of you are weary. For us it has been a long four weeks of preparation. For you, it was years and years. As the certainty of the arrival of this day approached you did not abandon your post, but became even more active. Some people were content with only watching in anticipation. You, you did not take the passive approach; you were the one who sounded like you were in conversation with the event, urging it on, doing those things that seemingly hasten its arrival. So, at this late hour, some of you are weary but excited because promises are fulfilled.

I want you to know that your persistence has paid off. “For a child has been born – for Us!”

I can tell in your voice that this is not just the evening report from the sentry wall. It isn’t the recitation of some event, spoken by a talking head from the news desk. It isn’t a monotone parroting of some broadcast heard from someone else with the disinterested mumble, pass it on. I detect a certain spirit present in your proclamation. It isn’t that special eggnog that Uncle Jon makes; it isn’t the expectation of that certain gift either. This quiver in your voice betrays an inmost sense of ecstasy, welling up from deep within.

Despite every indication to the contrary, you have watched and waited. Looking out across the landscape from your sentry post you have witnessed signs. These signs have not been what were anticipated. There has been violence out there. Physical violence, wars and rumors of wars, was pasted on the signboard of every informer that approached the gates. It is so prevalent that others grew impatient and walked away from their post. It’s been hard to stay at this place of anticipation with the economy the way it is. “The royal diadem” has been buried so deeply in your hand it is hard to remember it is even there. Yet, you watch and pray. “You who call on the Lord give yourself no rest.”

There have been times, I am quite sure, when others have made fun of you. It is hard to point toward something exciting and remarkable that few have the vision to see. So you have brought to your rembrance these promises. Promises made by a worthy promiser are worth remembering even when all seems, well, lousy. Still, these promises have been hard to keep bottled up. Once you eagerly shouted them but as time went on it became harder and harder to shout this news so you simply asked people to remember. They have heard the promise before, you have been asking us to just remember.

A guy named Luke has also been in correspondence with us, confirming your report, but his account is so, well, down to earth, that we have had a hard time keeping the promise straight. Please forgive us for our lack of focus. I realize you have been watching for any sign of these promises to be fulfilled for a long time. It must be frustrating to have any ‘Johnny come lately upstage your message.”

I do not know how you did it. This is about your persistency. There are days when all of us must simply put one foot in front of the other and then breath. It is about keeping at it, not based upon the present conditions, not based upon your ability to transform the present, but because of the promise and the promiser. So I am thankful that even though many things have distracted the rest of us, you keep reminding us.

I realize that a sentinel usually watches out for those who are expected, or who might appear. You have not only reminded us, but you called out to the one who is coming, you remind him, and do not let him rest until he has come and done his job. You have not been content to just put in your time, keeping your post…who goes there…let me see your I.D. No, you know what’s going on here and so you have been calling ahead, “Get a move on!” Your watching, in this active way, has helped us endure these long days.

We have heard you at your post. Your prayers have not been the normal, head bowed, gentle murmuring. Your prayers seemed, well, a little crazy; barking the command that the Lord come. I must say it has even been a little frightening, your passionate, impatient, urgent and not a little noisy, proclamation of peace…even as the rest of us waited in disbelief for the establishment of the Lord’s justice and rightness in the world, even as we wait for those in our world who have been ‘forsaken’ to be ‘not forsaken’ again.

I am sorry if you have felt so all alone in your fidelity to this cause. We should have heard you because the message was clear, but we didn’t. Let me tell you that now, finally we have heard it.

If you can, kind sir, please note that we have taken a significant amount of time away from what others refer to as “Holiday Festivities” to come to this place, a place where we anticipate encountering the very one you have been waiting for, to celebrate His arrival.

We hear, and now know,

Yes! God has broadcast to all the world; “Tell daughter Zion, ‘Look! Your Savior comes, Ready to do what he said he’d do, prepared to complete what he promised.’” Zion will be called new name: Holy People, God-Redeemed, Sought-Out, City-Not-Forsaken. (Isaiah 62:11-12, Eugene Peterson, The Message)

We’ve heard you, so now, finally, we celebrate. There are times it may not look like it, but your message is what our festivities are about.


A fellow messenger