2017 - Advent Reflection: Prepare the Way of the Lord, Make Straight His Paths
For the past several semesters I’ve been teaching the Moreau First Year Experience class to first-year students. I teach on Fridays at 2 p.m. If you look at my weekly planner, you will invariably see on my list of things to do on Wednesday: "Prepare my Moreau class.
Preparation is, in many ways, a way of life. We prepare to teach by doing our lesson plans. We prepare for an exam by studying and reading. We prepare for a trip by making reservations and packing. We prepare for a meeting with our boss by reviewing our notes. And so on.
In the Gospel today John the Baptist, one of the central figures of Advent, quotes Isaiah, another central figure of Advent, proclaiming: "Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.'"
How do we prepare the way of the Lord? How do we get ready for his coming? You’re thinking, How can I do this? I have so much to tend to right now. I have so much to do. Even if I don’t sleep for the next ten days, I have no idea how I will get it all done.
So just think of one or two things that you can do to get ready for the coming of the Lord. Here are a few suggestions that have worked, more or less, for me over the past years. Maybe one or another might work for you.
- Give away one item of clothing each day. A pair of socks, a belt, a pair of shoes, a shirt. Most of us have 22 things that we can give away.
- Say “no” to two things. We are all invited to lots of parties and receptions and events. Just say “no” to two things and use the time to read or sleep or drink a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of egg nog.
- Take five minutes in the day to consciously remind yourself that every person you have interacted act with or will interact with today is a child of God, made in the image of likeness of God, and is destined to live forever with God–and with you.
- Write out one Christmas card per day. And take three minutes to say something you really want to say to that person.
These are simple and doable ways that help us to prepare for the coming of the Lord. Don’t set up big preparation plans that probably cannot work. Do one or two simple things as a reminder that, more than anything else, you want to live completely and entirely aware that that you are always and forever in the presence of a God who loves you more than you can imagine.
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