- From Christmas Canticles
Our God has said: “Encourage my people! Give them comfort. Speak kindly to Jerusalem and announce: Your slavery is past; your punishment is over. I, the Lord, made you pay double for your sins.” Someone is shouting: “Clear a path in the desert! Make a straight road for the Lord our God. Fill in the valleys; flatten every hill and mountain. Level the rough and rugged ground. Then the glory of the Lord will appear for all to see. The Lord has promised this!”
- Isaiah 40.1-5
One can easily envision this scene described so vividly by Isaiah; laborers too numerous to count clearing a path for God in the desert. Perhaps it is the Angel armies of the Holy One descending from the heavens to flatten hill and mountain; perhaps it is the exiles themselves, weakened by their captivity and sluggish in their efforts, yet anxious to prepare the way for their God who promises release. Or perhaps you and I can be seen clearing paths through the desert of our hearts – discarding old resentments, releasing long held fears – preparing the way for the Advent of God’s Christ. Yet we need not choose between these spiritual highway crews for, after all, the story we tell, though one, has many chapters unlimited in time and space.
Then again we need not choose between these highway crews for, after all, their work is partial and incomplete. Try as they may they cannot on their own level the rough and rugged ground. But when Love comes… when Love sweeps across the wastelands of our lives and our world, no mountain will stand unscathed, no rough place untouched. When Love comes the way will be cleared, and will be clear for all to see. On Sunday we will light the fourth candle of Advent, the candle of Love, because Love is on the way.