He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’” – John 1:23
Guest post by Rachel Kramer
“Make straight the way of the Lord!” This is the kind of phrase I heard around Christmas time as a kid that, to my y0ung ears, was pure, unacknowledged nonsense. Anyone else in this camp? I’m referring to that moment when you suddenly learn the real words to a Christmas carol before even knowing you were saying the wrong words. As a boisterous, albeit tone-deaf, child I clearly remember marching around the house belting out: “We three Kings of Orientar! Bearing gifts we travelled so far! Field and fountain, more and mountain, following yonder star” and “Deck the halls with balls of holly!
(There are four mistakes above – can you recognize them all?)
In the same way that ‘balls of holly’ makes little sense, I never pieced together the importance of a ‘straight path’ for Jesus. Then this year I saw another translation of that same passage saying, “Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!” and “Make a highway for the Lord through the wilderness!”
Now highways I’m familiar with – that’s how I go fast. In other words, “Get rid of any obstacles that will slow God from being present!” Perhaps in modern language we might say, “Clear out all of the stop signs and traffic lights! Hold back the cross-traffic and give him a police escort! We need him here NOW.”
That’s a message I can relate to. I resonate with a need for God’s presence this season. How about you? Someone recently pointed out that the Advent season is quite distinct from the Christmas season. While the American Christmas season is frantic and frenetic, advent is slow. It’s a sitting in the darkness, full of hope for Who is to come. It is presence in that darkness with the Peace who passes all understanding. It is the joyful anticipation when you see the headlights of your loved one finally turn onto your street. It is the embodied love a hug brings in the lowest, highest, and most unexpected moments.
So straighten out the road, the Christ is coming and we don’t want anything to slow Him down.
Of course, this begs the question: what are your obstacles and roadblocks? What is impeding your experience of God’s presence in this season?
My list includes the sleepiness of too many late nights and early mornings, wasting my time on my phone with too much of the news, YouTube, and Instagram, adding extra holiday commitments to my calendar, and pretending like all is well while simultaneously clinging to my brokenness as my identity instead of making space for much needed healing.
As we seek to make space for God’s presence this Advent season, let us remember the Good News found in the words of Isaiah: “Messenger of good news, shout to Zion from the mountaintops! Shout louder to Jerusalem – do not be afraid. Tell the towns of Judah, ‘Your God is coming!’”
May the road be straight and the highway quick so that He gets here fast.
- In what ways do you see a need for God’s presence in your life right now? Do you particularly resonate with any of the themes of Advent (hope, peace, joy, love)?
- What is impeding your experience of God’s presence in your life right now?
- Is there anything you would like to try adding or subtracting (today, this week, until Christmas) in order to slow down this Advent and ‘make straight the way of the Lord’?
About the Author:
Rachel Kramer is a mentor coordinator at Mercy Street in West Dallas. She has been on the Faithwalking journey since April 2013.