Advent – Part 2: Prepare the Way

Breeze Hill Winter Sunrise

(“Breeze Hill Winter Sunrise” by Vic Sharp on Flickr)

I usually find myself looking forward to the Christmas season starting in the hot summer months, usually sometime around July. Maybe it is in part because I don’t enjoy hot weather, and the thought of cold quiet nights sounds appealing. I think it has more to do with longing for the idyllic image of Christmas I have in my head: a time of peace, meditative reflection, and a sense of God-is-with-us.

Okay, that was July. Now fast forward to November and December. Christmas is fast upon us. The weeks of Advent seem to pass too quickly for all the shopping, baking, party going, family visiting, and so many other activities that go into our reality of Christmas. The image I had in my mind in July does not usually match up with the reality of December.

The antidote is preparation:

A voice cries out:

“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD…”

The words of the prophet ring out as a reminder. Though not necessarily the context in which Isaiah had in mind, the need to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord is no less urgent. We aren’t in the literal wilderness any more, but sometimes our daily lives feel like a metaphorical wilderness, removed distantly from the God we serve.

This morning I woke up very early to a still, small voice whispering beside my bed: “Daddy, I had a bad dream. There were ants in it.” My little boy crawled up in bed beside me and whispered to me the story of his bad dream and let me hold him in my arms. The clock said it was about 5:00 AM, an hour before my alarm would rudely force me out of bed. Eventually I realized I was not going to fall back to sleep, so I very gently tried to get out of bed, thinking I was being careful enough not to wake anyone else up, when I heard another whisper… “but this last dream was very funny” and a few giggles ensued.

Matthew had a great plan: eat breakfast and get dressed for school early so he would be all ready to walk out the door, then he could play without worry of being late to school.

By waking me up so early, he gave me an opportunity to enjoy the quiet of the morning, read some familiar Advent scriptures, and meditate on my own preparations for the coming of the Christmas season in my heart.  I am grateful for the opportunity, even if it was not how I planned it.

What steps are you taking to prepare the way of the Lord this Advent season?

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