Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.
A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
When I read this passage, two images come to mind.
The first is: how hard it is to make a straight way. I remember the hours and weeks Denny spent on a D8 Caterpillar making straight, level, smooth a dirt runway at a small airport in PA. Human perfection takes us only so close to the level path. “The path of the righteous is level; O Upright One; you make the way of the righteous smooth.” (Isaiah 26:7).
And, secondly, how this passage echoed by John the Baptist foretelling the coming of Christ, is like a facelift for my soul; bulldozing down arrogance and pride, shaving off rough edgy retorts, filling in wrinkles of worry and frustration with forgiveness and grace. I pray the glory of the Lord will light our new countenance, and make straight a new path for our Lord, revealed to all people this Christmas.
Prayer (from Creighton University)
Grant us, Almighty God, the resolve to run forth to meet Christ with righteous deeds at his coming, so that we may be worthy of your heavenly kingdom. This we pray through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son. Amen.