John the Baptizer said, "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God."
Just like that! There are only eighteen days until Christmas and only nine days until our annual Nativity pageant! Is your family ready for Christmas? That's a question we hear quite often these days, isn't it? What do people mean when they ask if you are ready for Christmas? Often when that question is posed to me it usually means things like…
- Is my Christmas Sermon complete?
- Do I have all the bulletins edited?
- Do you have all of my shopping done?
- Have I finished wrapping all my gifts for the family?
- Have I put up your Christmas tree and all the decorations?
- Have I sent out Christmas Cards (or even sometimes when its been a really busy season, my New Years cards)?
- Have we finished baking all of the Christmas goodies?
- Is our house clean and ready for visitors?
Are you ready for Christmas? What things do you need to do before you will be ready?
There's another question that is much more important than "Are you ready for Christmas?" That question is, "Are you ready for Christ?"
In our Lectionary readings for 2 Advent, we hear the voice of John the Baptist crying out to the people, "Prepare the way for the Lord. Fill in the valleys and level all the mountains. Make the crooked roads straight and the rough places smooth."
Did John the Baptist really advocate demolition work? No, what John wanted was for his listeners to get ready for the coming of the Messiah. What he really meant was that the people needed to get their hearts right and return to God. You see, no matter how good people may think they are, there's always some crooked ways and rough places in their lives- that's our human nature. These twists in 'our road' take the forms of dishonesty, selfishness, pride, jealousy, and many more. John wants his listeners and us to make those crooked ways straight and rough places smooth so that Jesus could come and walk among us.
During this special season of the year, you and I are invited to make sure that we are ready for the coming of the Christ of Christmas. We need to look into our hearts and ask God to make our crooked ways straight and to smooth out the rough places of our life. And yes, sometimes that may indeed take some demolition work. Let’s work on preparing the way.