The Biblical text never promises wealth and prosperity to the faithful. What it does promise, is peace, well-being, and unity among the gathered faithful. The English translation fails us when it replaces God’s vision of shalom, with our worldly visions of extravagant wealth.
The celebration of Christmas is not just about the hope and promise that the world will be made whole. It’s not just about God coming so “everyone else” can receive new life. Christmas is about acknowledging the brokenness in your own life, and the promise of God in Christ to make you whole, to give you hope, to give you new life.
If we cannot identify ourselves as wilderness people, we will have a hard time understanding the context of Advent. The advent of Christ is to bring good news to the poor, release captives from slavery to sin and death. If we can’t claim our own wilderness, perhaps we should align ourselves with those in the wilderness.
The witness of God’s will in the life of Jesus Christ proves God’s love for all humanity, regardless the color of their skin, their perceived or expressed gender or sexual identity, their faith or lack thereof, their country of origin or their country of citizenship.
For the Biblical text to truly be helpful in our understanding of salvation and the saving work of God, it requires us to have an understanding of the text that goes deeper than what a simple surface level reading can provide. Isaiah 55 is a good example.