Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "As With Gladness Men Of Old"1 (Lyrics)
Isaiah 40:3-5 – A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness 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 mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." (NIV)
Early this year, my daughter, her husband, and baby granddaughter came to live with me. A business opportunity in town had presented itself, and they decided to buy it and move home. How wonderful is this! was my first thought. My second thought was, Oh my goodness! How are we all going to fit into this house?! Thus, the making way process began. I toured each room, checking out closets, drawers, cupboards, porches, and sheds. It could be done, but it would mean a lot of sorting, organizing, giving away, and disposal. Fortunately, I had a couple of months to prepare, and bit by bit, I did make way.
It was a very large task, however, and there were moments when I felt discouraged and overwhelmed by the project. At such times, I would stop thinking about everything that needed doing and dwell on the joy that the end result would yield. My family would be moving in. I would have help with so many day-to-day tasks and ongoing projects. I would be able to see my infant granddaughter growing and changing moment by moment. In this day and age when many grandparents see their grandchildren only once every few years or via Skype or FaceTime, what a wonderful gift I was receiving!
As I contemplated these great joys, today's Scripture verses came to mind, as Isaiah calls us to prepare the way for the Lord in our lives, on this first Sunday of Advent. Make way! This command calls us to search our lives for anything and everything that keeps us from knowing and walking with our God day by day, moment by moment. Indeed, it is rather an overwhelming thought, for we live busy and often complicated lives, and there is much that seeks to create roadblocks and obstacles to keep us from making way.
I have found, however, much like I did when I was making way for my family's arrival, that if I stop and consider the joy that comes when I make way for the Lord, I am inspired to keep going. In fact, the making way itself becomes an act of love and joy, no longer a burden or struggle. And what is the joy? The glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. Indeed, the glory of the Lord will be revealed more and more in my relationship with Him. It is a glory that fills me up and is thus revealed to all mankind around me — around us — as each one of us makes the decision, day by day, to make way for the Lord.
Prayer: Father God, thank You so much that You have called and continue to call us to make way in our lives day by day for Your Son, who day by day enables us to be filled with Your glory and all the joy of living that it brings. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.