Chaplain’s Corner: LXXIX
Last Sunday (November 28th) was the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is the church season that annually encompasses the four Sundays before Christmas Eve. Advent is derived from the Latin word adventum, which means “coming.” Each year followers of Jesus are encouraged to ponder the meaning of the Messiah’s coming into the world.
So what might that look like?
In Scripture, the arrival of Jesus is frequently linked with these words from the prophet Isaiah: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up; every mountain and hill made low; the rough places shall become level, and the rugged places a plain.” (Isaiah 40:3-4)
People in the ancient world knew exactly what those words meant.
When a King was coming to visit a community-quite likely a once-in-a-lifetime honor for its residents-lavish preparations had to be made. Think of the special efforts of cooking and cleaning that many undertake for the holidays and multiply it by a factor of 100. All obstacles on the King’s path had to be removed. Rocks were pushed back. Rough places were patched. Sometimes even “mountains” were made low-that is, special paths for the King’s litter were cut through difficult terrain.
That’s our call for Christmas. We need to prepare the way for Christ’s arrival into our personal worlds.
The rocks or obstacles, in our own lives need to be set aside and the rough places made smooth. What might that mean?
Perhaps between now and December 25th the best spiritual preparation we can undertake is to turn down the noise. Watch less TV. Be quiet. Choose a new relationship here at Westminster Village and make a new friend.
Reflect in new ways on the meaning of God becoming a human being. Above all, claim some moments of stillness in the midst of the frenzy that so often dominates December.
In other words, “Be still and know that God is God” (Psalm 46:10).
In big ways and small ways, “Prepare the Way of the Lord.”
Ron Naylor, Chaplain