A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness
a way for the Lord.’
Those words are a clarion-call to prepare a way for the Lord in the wilderness of our hearts. It is easy to get side-tracked by the duties of every day and all the busy-ness of preparing for Christmas. We can end up wondering whether we have any focus at all. We try, of course we do, but as often as not we are left with a vague unease that we are not attentive, not really present to the Lord. Advent seems to be passing us by. Would it encourage you to know that that is exactly what Advent is meant to do in our lives — show us how much we need saving? There is no such thing as D.I.Y. salvation.
So, today, we are back in the desert, not under the scorching sun but in the cold, bleak desert of night and darkness that constitutes so much of our interior life. Yet it is here, in this wilderness, that we must prepare a way for the Lord. We know about levelling the little molehills of pride and self-sufficiency that dot our interior landscape, but what about filling in those valleys of dissatisfaction and fearfulness that are also present? If that seems an impossibility, have we forgotten that we do not act alone?
He is like a shepherd feeding his flock,
gathering lambs in his arms,
holding them against his breast
and leading to their rest the mother ewes.
Yes, the Lord himself is the way. He both invites us to make a way for him and creates the way within us.