Prepare the way of the Lord.
The word “prepare” must have a long dictionary entry. How do we prepare? We prepare to give gifts, we prepare food (where a technique is a “preparation”). Preppies crunch for college; preppers stock up for disaster. We prep for exams (academic and, uh, medical). Scouts tell us “Be Prepared.” Athletes train for the big game, actors and musicians practice, practice, practice, placing themselves in the future performance. We prepare the house for a visitor or a baby or a party. We prepare to travel, to retire, to advance, and even to die.
John the Baptist cried out “Prepare the way of the Lord! Make his paths straight!” What did he mean? What does that mean for us? How do you prepare the way of the Lord?
The popular mindset of “spiritual but not religious” knows little of preparation. Instead, this mindset is about a vague sense of good feelings. But preparing for God to actively come into our earthly lives in dramatic and tangible ways? That takes dramatic and tangible preparation, asking more from us than convenience and positivity.
John calls us to repentance: turning away from sin and toward God. That “toward God” is the whole point of the process, and is where that kind of preparation has energy and hope and promise. John calls us to clean house, to open access to God in all parts of our lives. He calls us to take action with our neighbors in justice and reconciliation, in compassion inwardly and outwardly. We prepare our hearts and minds and hands and feet and pocketbooks. We prepare our texts and posts with (God help us) more forethought than impulse. We prepare our home, our words, our attitude, our priorities, our plans. We open all our preparation to the one who comes to renew and restore us, to dig out the death in us and pour into us an excess of new life.
For your prayers and for your actions: How is God preparing you? How are you preparing more of your life for Jesus?
“Prepare the way of the Lord! Make his paths straight!”
Yours in Christ,