“In this strange season when we are suspended between realization and expectation, may we be found honest about the darkness, more perceptive of the light.”
-Jack Boozer, Professor of Religion, Emory University
I’m grateful that the first Sunday of Advent didn’t fall just after Thanksgiving this year, sandwiched between “Black Friday,” “Small-Business Saturday,” and “Cyber Monday.” The rush to get ready for Christmas is almost impossible to hold back. It seems, at times, the world is conspired against those of us who want to slow down and take our time as we enter into this season.
Getting ready is of course what advent is all about but is it possible that we’ve forgotten what we’re getting ready for? Are we getting our yards ready for the drivers-by so that they can ooh and ahh over the number of lights strung along our eaves or the size of the inflatable caricatures in our yards? Are we getting our homes ready to entertain visitors with baked goodies, festive decorations, and candle-powered atmosphere? Are we hitting the stores to make sure we’re ready to have the packages mailed off in time, all the stockings stuffed, and the base of the tree surrounded in generous bounty? Is this really the getting ready that advent suggests?
A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
– Isaiah 40:3-5
This is the preparation of advent. The glory of the Lord is to be revealed to all the earth and our getting ready takes on much greater significance. How will we make straight the highway? How will the mountains be lifted up, the hills made low and the rough made smooth? John the Baptist declares our advent preparations to have serious, earth-moving requirements. For the faithful, getting ready could take on a much larger shape than just decorating our houses and checking names off our gift exchange lists.
My hope is that this year, advent also becomes a time when you consider how God is shaping you into a new creation, and one that reflects the very glory of the Lord. In this season lets remember that God comes to be with us. Let’s make the pathways straight and rough places smooth. This advent, let’s move some mountains!
+! Pastor Peter