In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.Isaiah 40:3
Do I feel prepared for Christmas?
What do most people think about when thinking about preparing for Christmas?
We have a decorated Christmas tree and some lights strung up inside the house.
There are presents under our tree. Our Christmas shopping is 98.5% done. I may in fact get a few more stocking stuffers for the kids.
All we need for Christmas dinner is in our fridge, freezer, and cupboard. Except for the pies a friend is bringing. Oh yeah, and whipping cream.
But is that it? Is that what it means to prepare for Christmas? Given the meaning of the season, how else could or should we prepare?
Thinking of the words from Isaiah above, which are quoted by John the Baptist as he preaches in advance of Jesus starting his ministry, have we been preparing the way of the Lord?
Our family has been doing Advent devotions most evenings since the end of November. We’ve been doing a series of devotions based on the idea of The Jesse Tree. We’ve missed some nights, so we’ve been doubling up to catch up. Included in our devotions are our Advent candles. And, yes, it also involves Advent chocolate/calendars.
Were it not for Advent and what we do as a family, I would find this season much less meaningful.
I think of preparing the way of the Lord as doing all I can not to get preoccupied with the commercial and materialistic and consumeristic aspects of Christmas. And teaching our kids likewise.
I think of preparing the way of the Lord as setting all of the other cultural ways of observing Christmas within the larger framework of the story God tells through the coming of Christ.
I think of preparing the way of the Lord as engaging in self reflection and self-examination that leads to repentance.
I think of preparing the way of the Lord as cultivating habits that create a receptivity in my heart for God’s word—making room for his presence in my life.
Am I prepared for Christmas in these ways? I guess I would say I am still in the process of preparing. Truthfully, it’s a process that extends beyond Christmas but must include it. And it’s a process I’m grateful to be going through.
How are you making a highway for God? How are you preparing a way for the Lord to enter your life during this Christmas season?