A voice cries out: in the desert prepare the way of the Lord! (Isaiah 40:3)
There are a lot of words I like to hear. There are words that can turn a bad day into a great day in a flash and words that can bring comfort or hope to a hurting, sad soul. There are words that just make you feel happy, loved, and safe.
Then there are the words we don’t like so much. You know, those pesky little words that mean we have changes to make, work to do, or truth to face. The readings during the season of Advent are full of those words. Words like: prepare, wait, repent, and forgive are so deeply connected with the meaning and purpose of Advent but if you’re anything like me, you read past them and get on with the shopping, baking, and holiday fun.
In this zillion-miles-an-hour world we live in, waiting isn’t something we do well because we can get just about everything on demand and express delivered to our hot little hands. Instant is better, isn’t it? When I think about instant my mind floods with thoughts of projects I’ve tried to complete as quickly as possible: cakes I’ve tried to cool instantly so I could get them frosted only to have the frosting melt and slide off into a sugary mess, or graduation party decorations and pictures I tried to put up in a quick rush that all fell down over night because I didn’t take the time to do the job well. I can think of situations and mistakes I’ve tried to forget rather than process properly and prayerfully while considering the truth of my actions and repent. I think of forgiveness issued by my words but not really felt in my heart. All of those things leave me feeling empty inside because they weren’t really done the right way … the Advent way … the Lord’s way.
As we journey through Advent it would be a great idea to pause and take stock of the words offered by the likes of Isaiah the prophet and John the Baptist. They were pretty smart guys who were intensely in love with the God we claim to love and serve. They didn’t run around spitting out these words we aren’t too fond of to make themselves popular. They shared these words because they are precisely the things we need to do in order to draw closer to the Father who loves us. They are the words that allow us to truly ready ourselves for the coming of something completely amazing that often gets taken for granted or lost in the wrapping paper and tinsel. Imagine the preparation that would take place if Pope Francis or our favorite sports, music or movie star were coming to our home for a visit. It would be a frenzy of activity and preparation. Stop for a second and imagine what your to-do list would include as you got ready for that event and consider the amount of focus you world devote to your special guest.
Each Advent we begin a new liturgical year with a time of preparation for the most amazing guest imaginable. He’s not a guest that will come into our home for an hour, a day or a meal; He wants to come into our heart and dwell there for all eternity. Are we ready for that? If the answer is “no” or “not quite” then the good news is, we have some time to get ready. Take a long prayerful look at the words prepare, wait, repent, and forgive and ask the Lord to show you how to turn the words into actions that will truly prepare us for the birth of Jesus.
A Seed To Plant: Pick one of those Advent words and pray with it this week slowly and carefully this week to see where He leads you on the journey to His Son.
Blessings on your day!
Copyright 2019 Sheri Wohlfert