Three different Isaiahs were the prophets of God....and this passage Chapter 40..1-11 by the second one was written during the last year of Jewish exile in Babylonia...They could see the forces of Cyrus King of Persia conquering all in their path and Babylon was going to surrender.....this meant they could finally go home but not quite yet...they were in a period of waiting.... The beauty and joy is obvious as they wait for God to gather up His flock and gently lead them home.
It was home to rebuild though, to start again , to put back what had been destroyed....
Getting back to the destruction that was Jerusalem and its Temple was going to be hard and they remembered that even as they rejoiced.
And that is I think what Advent is about.....its getting ready for the Christ child and to be led into a new place both of beauty and hard work. The poem written by Rowan Williams on Advent is one I enjoy.
He will come like last years leaf fall
One night when the November wind
Has flayed the trees to bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould
the soft shroud’s folding
He will come, will come
Will come like crying in the night
Like blood, like breaking
As the earth writhes to toss him free
He will come like child.