3 A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
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.
5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
In the season of Advent we look forward to the earth-shattering good news that Jesus is born to save us. Advent is a time of anticipation, of waiting for the arrival of this good news.
This expectant waiting is altogether different from the typical sort of waiting, wondering and worrying about whether our plans will succeed or fail, whether the game will be won or lost, or whether or not our efforts will be rewarded. Those kinds of anticipation ask questions of an uncertain future, with worries based in uncertainty, fear, and/or doubt about the future.
Advent is completely different. Advent looks forward to the certain victory of God on our behalf. It celebrates his promise to bring us glory. As the prophet Isaiah preaches in this passage, “the mouth of the Lord has spoken,” and he will not be deterred. God is on the move. He is taking decisive action by his mighty arm:
Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him. [Isaiah 40:10]
Advent is more than a season of celebrations on the church calendar. It marks the decisive turning point in all history, and thus it matters for the choices we make every day. It means that we had best align our thoughts and deeds with God’s plan for certain victory, and not be swayed by worry, fear, or doubt. Our ultimate victory is secure in Christ. God’s Word of Love gets the last word.
How about the tough choices we face? Should we “play it straight” or “bluff” to get an edge on an opponent? Hedge our bets by hiding bad news? Advent means that we won’t change the ultimate outcome by our own devices. God’s might will prevail. Every time we decide to do what’s right in God’s sight, we help straighten the path for his coming. We literally prepare the way of the Lord as we act on the assured promise of Advent—the promise we have in Jesus Christ.
© Bruce D. Baker, 2013