How Do We Prepare for His Way
by Jasmine C. Gatti
“… the words of Isaiah the prophet, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 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 become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God’”
(Luke 3:4-6, ESV).
Stuffed turkey, pumpkins, cranberry. Steaming apple cider and cinnamon stick scents, boisterous gatherings. Spicy gingerbread man cookies, melodious chords from acapella carols, and crumpling of gift wrap. This frenzy of celebratory preparations for Thanksgiving and Christmas is followed by New Year’s Eve and new resolutions. Then a pause, a sigh, and a wonder. Is this it? Is this the preparation John announced in the wilderness?
John cried out about an even larger preparation of Christ’s earthly purpose,” proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3 ESV). We can expand the preparations to include our messages that point others to God’s salvation. How can we, as word-bearers, prepare the way for Christ to enter our lives in this season? Our work could serve the Lord’s purpose to fill every valley, make low every mountain, straighten the crooked, level the rough places, as a reckoning of peace and balance in sharing God’s salvation.
Imagine glaring down into the abyss of the Grand Canyon, teetering on its edge being drawn towards the gorge. Holiday seasons can draw many close to such a “valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4). Caregivers and writers often suffer these journeys of grief over rejection slips or in losses like the role reversal with an aging parent. As message-bearers, we can offer the hope of Christ to those who face the darkness. Even these experiences of grief will be abolished, packed smoothly. Mountains will be obliterated, flattened by his power. Our complex wanderings and circular wonderings will straighten to laser focus. All our rough places and broken pieces, fixed and good as new. These “special effects” will rewind like a slow-motion clip of a cracked vase– the pieces returning to their perfect form on the shelf from where it tottered.
I pray my heart and words will prepare the way for his message to share hope with the world this season and all year long.
Lord, prepare my heart today and in this season for you to transform it by your great power. Amen.
Jasmine Gatti is an author of lay and technical articles, hospice clinician, and speaker about caregiving and medicine (churches, care facilities, panels) educated at Johns Hopkins University and Georgetown U. School of Medicine. Caregiver to parents, children and dogs and to her husband’s family. She lives in Maryland. Her website is Writeinstantly.org.