“A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 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 the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” Isaiah 40:3-5
We are at the point in the season where everyone is preparing for Christmas. Trees are being put up in homes and being decorated. Gifts are being purchased and wrapped. Travel plans are being finalized. Meals are being planned. Christmas is coming. We are preparing our homes for family and friends. We are preparing for celebration. But how do we prepare for Christ who has come?
Hundreds of years before Christ’s coming, the prophet Isaiah spoke of a voice in the wilderness declaring, “Prepare the way of the Lord!” He goes on to describe what the Lord’s coming will look like. Using the imagery of mountains and valleys, Isaiah prophecies of a day when all the earth will be on level ground—valleys raised up and mountains made low. The picture is of a path being paved in preparation of the Lord’s coming, a path that puts him on display for all the world to see. And Isaiah looks forward to the day when “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”
We celebrate at Advent that the glory of the Lord has been revealed at the birth of Jesus Christ, as God became man for all flesh to see. John describes Christ’s coming, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory…” (John 1:14). Isaiah teaches us that the revelation of God’s glory, the coming of Christ to earth demands preparation—that all flesh are put on an even plain—for it is at the foot of the manger that we all stand on level ground, all sinners in need of the Savior who has come.
So as you continue to prepare for Christmas, how will you prepare your heart for Christ’s coming? Are there mountains of sin? Are there valleys of despair? Is there uneven ground of fear and uncertainty? I urge you to bring these to our Savior! With repentance, receive his forgiveness. With joy, allow him to raise you from the valley of despair. With hope, trust him with uncertainties of the future.
And with humility, heed the voice crying out, “Prepare the way of the Lord.”
For he has come, and he is coming again.
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"May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word." Psalm 119:74