The gist of Hosea’s message (c. 745 B.C.) had to do with the faithlessness of Israel to her covenant (relationship) with God. Hosea compared this infidelity to that of a wayward wife gone astray. The covenant, he said, was like a sacred marriage. Israel, the “wife,” was estranged from her “husband.” The husband (God) with a love that surpasses human understanding, sought the estranged wife (Israel) and was willing to take her back into love’s embrace.
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt (Hosea 2:14-15).”
At another point in Hosea’s message, he changes the metaphor from the relationship between husband and wife to the relationship between father and son. Like any father, God had taught his son how to walk, had taken hm up tenderly in his arms and embraced him, disciplined him and loved him as only a father can.
“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son (Hosea 11:1).”
God’s holy love seeks to break the chains of our bondage, our addiction to the “meaningless stuff” of life, and to emancipate us for a new life, a new covenant, a new world. The message of Hosea parallels the message of Advent. God comes seeking us out, and comes with a divine purpose that is discernible in all of life’s experiences, if we are aware that God indeed comes. God has come so many times and never been noticed. Advent is a call to watch, wait, and prepare for God to come in some new way and to know it when it happens.