Jerusalem will be told:
"Don't be afraid.
Dear Zion, don't despair.
Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you.
Happy to have you back, he'll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs.
God present among us. How often do we look on that as a comfort, as reassurance? The prophet, however, refers to that presence as a Strong Warrior. Maybe not one of the first images most of us would cherish.
Looking around our world today, it will take a strong warrior to bring peace and calm. Someone with backbone.
Much as I love the image of a gentle lamb as a picture of God, a gentle lamb is not going to have much impact on a world at war.
But then, we have a pretty fixed idea of warriors too. We wouldn’t readily associate a warrior with calming love or with songs that delight rather than strike fear.
These scary images of advent really provoke us into looking at God – and at ourselves – in a whole new light.