As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the desert, Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation.” Luke 3:4-6 (NIV)
As Christmas draws closer, the most common greeting you may hear is, “Are you ready?” There is so much to do – shopping, parties to attend, gifts to wrap, decorations to set out, and meals to prepare for all the family and guests who may come. Kind of makes you exhausted just thinking about it. While those preparations are important, Advent is a season of spiritual preparation that will keep all the other necessary preparations from overwhelming you.
The second Sunday of Advent is often observed by lighting a candle of preparation. The promise God had made to Abraham would soon be fulfilled in Bethlehem. Preparation means to “get ready.” To prepare the world for the coming of His Son, God sent a messenger ahead who spoke with the voice of the prophets of the Old Testament. Breaking 400 years of silence since Malachi, the final book of the Old Testament, God would speak through the voice of John the Baptist to prepare our world for the coming of His Son! The final act of redemption was about to unfold! As the curtain was drawn, John the Baptist steps out on the stage of a world in darkness with a message of preparation. Quoting from the prophet Isaiah, John says,
Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation. Luke 3:4-6 (NIV)
The Life Application Bible offers an insightful comment on this passage:
“In John’s day, before a king would take a trip, messengers would tell those he was planning to visit to prepare the roads for him. Similarly, John told his listeners to make their lives ready so the Lord could come to them. This does not mean that you must get rid of all your sin or wrongdoing before you can accept Christ; rather, when you accept Him, He takes care of all your sinfulness. To prepare the way means clearing aside the baggage of the past and the doubts of the present in order to let the King come into your life. He’ll take it from there.”
So, are you ready? Have you prepared your heart for the coming of Christ? Confess to Him every crooked thing so He can make them straight. Let His Word fill every valley in your soul. Remove any high place that may exalt itself above the knowledge of God in your life. Allow His Spirit to smooth out the rough places. As you do, you’ll find your heart at peace, ready to be filled with the wonder and awe of Christ’s coming!