Prepare the way of the Lord!
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
2ND SUN ADVENT C
We have finished the first week of Advent and are left with three more. The Church does not advise us to decorate, to buy gifts or prepare food all of which we usually do for Christmas year in year out. Instead we are advised differently by Isaiah and John the Baptist as follows.
Isaiah wrote that every low valley must be filled in. Every high mountain must be leveled low. And every crooked way must be made straight. All of these must be done for one reason only which is to prepare the way of the Lord Isaiah 40:4. Isaiah wrote figuratively but the message is clear. The depths of our sinfulness must be leveled with repentance. Likewise our towering pride must crash down in humiliation. Our twisted behavior must be corrected.
In the gospel of Luke St. John the Baptist added: be baptized for the forgiveness of sins Luke 3:3. But the idea does not change. Repent.
But is repentance compatible with Christmas? How can Christmas bring joy to the world if we are sorrowful because of our sins?
Come to think of it, did not Jesus say that there is greater joy in heaven whenever one sinner repents Luke 15:7. There is joy definitely for the one whose sin is forgiven Psalm 32:1. But even God is brought to smile every time a sinner confesses his guilt and asks forgiveness.
More than the other joys it is the forgiveness of sins that brings greatest happiness to anyone. Christmas won’t be joyful with all the food and gifts we would receive if there is no reconciliation with God and others.
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