Good morning all! Hopefully you are staying warm!
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 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.
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
To me, this Isaiah passage speaks of two things pretty clearly; comfort and preparation. God calls out to comfort Jerusalem (which if you remember from a few days ago seems a bit odd because Jerusalem is the city that people have been exiled from). God takes us out of resentment to comfort and peace. And perhaps Advent is all about finding that comfort we are called into.
The other piece of that though is the preparation for one who is to come. Now for Isaiah this historically would have possibly meant another king who will rule more justly (possibly Hezekiah). It could possibly mean his son who is coming up through the priestly ranks. It is hard for us not to hear that this is the Messiah especially when John later, in the book of John, will proclaim these words to prepare us for Jesus (that is the lectionary Gospel for today if you would like more scripture to read). And Advent is all about preparation. Preparation for the one who is to come who will turn our world upside down (like comforting those who we previously did not know needed comforting).
So how do we prepare? I used the image of a cup of coffee in the morning…both comforting and preparation for the day. There is something about holding a warm cup of liquid in the morning that refocuses, can add a layer of warmth and comfort, and can get me ready for the day. Are you the same way? It is a little piece of my day but it sets the tone for the day. What if our preparation for the season was that kind of intentional and could be just that little?
How do you set the tone for the day? Are you aware that you are doing it this season? Are you clearing your head and processing how this day will be different? What if you did that instead of rushing through the first moments? To just anticipate preparing makes all of the difference in my life. By anticipating the preparation for something that is coming somehow I see different things in the world.
Now for a really fun example of preparation. One of my favorite groups of people is a group of people called Improv Everywhere (yes, I use at least one youtube video a season because I love them and they are so writable). They create space in everyday life to have extraordinary experiences. One pretty simple improv that they put forward really got me to think about preparing the way in a whole different way…check it out….
Talk about someone going before Rob to prepare the way. Talk about having to look forward to what is to come! And talk about changed experience because of the preparation!
May you see things differently today as you prepare.