“Prepare the way of the Lord, make God’s path straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Luke 3:4 – 6)
John the Baptist cried out, “Prepare the way” and as Christmas draws near, we can often find ourselves caught in the race and grind of holiday preparations feeling depleted and exhausted. Juggling family, work, shopping, planning, cleaning, and decorating creates a frantic sense of intense busy-ness layered with guilt for not being in the “Christmas Spirit.”
I invite you to imagine for a moment Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. A very pregnant woman on a donkey, a weary man on foot, urgency in every step of their journey as they frantically raced against a deadline over which they had no control, the imminent birth of their son. As they journeyed alone through hostile territory, imagine Joseph’s worry and fear…would they get to Bethlehem in time? Would they find shelter? Would his son be born on the open road, in the middle of the night, just the two of them?
Imagine Mary’s worry and fear…was she feeling contractions? Was she counting the time in between each one? Was she afraid she would she have to give birth, without women helping, alone by the roadside…did she wonder if she would survive giving birth to this Holy child? The angel hadn’t said anything about what would happen to her after her son was born.
Of course, we know that they made it to Bethlehem. We know that at the end of their frantic journey they found refuge and sanctuary. In that manger so lowly, for a time, they found peace. Mary gave birth to hope for the world. They discovered the joy of becoming parents. Together they brought love incarnate into the world.
If you are feeling that out-of-control sense of careening into Christmas, come join us for our Candlelight Christmas Eve service of Lessons and Carols on Thursday, December 24 at 7:00 pm. Come and find refuge and sanctuary from the pressures that the holidays can bring. Come and find peace, for a time. Come and renew your hope for the world. Come and re-discover the joy in remembering that you are a beloved child of God. Come, and lay your burdens down and gather at Christ’s table for the pause that truly refreshes!
Come let us adore him, Christ the Lord!