Rev. Derrick Elliott
Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,'” as the prophet Isaiah said. Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. (John 1:22-24 NRSV)
In other bible translations, the passages say, “In the wilderness, John cries out: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord.’ ” Amid a world divided by politics and religion alike, the words that come from John are a call to prepare ourselves in the way of God or to prepare to return to God. What does the phrase “prepare” really mean for the church this Advent and Christmas season?
Merriam-Webster noted several ways to define the word “prepare.”
to make ready beforehand for some purpose, use, or activity
to put in a proper state of mind
to work out the details of the plan in advance
to put together
to put into written form
a. to get ready
All these definitions of the word “prepare” illustrate how we can be the church and be prepared.
John, son of Zechariah and Elizabeth and the cousin of Jesus, was a passionate individual who survived in the wilderness, slept in caves, clothed in a leather girdle, and ate locusts and wild honey. At the beginning of John’s ministry, he preached on earth, telling the people they were supposed to help each other, especially those suffering.
A wise man once said that if you know how a person understands God, you will have a great deal of insight into how they will see theology and their life of faith. For me, there is some action that shows this love. God loved us so much; God became one with us to reteach us to be the community. Oh, how we need a rebirthing of an Advent season or a Christmastide in the world! A world where the hope, peace, joy, and love of Christ are the normality. Hope, peace, joy, and love are within all generations—the delight of spring sunshine that brings new life—the sounds of laughter of a baby or crowd. We may wallow in these experiences and immerse ourselves in the beautiful and tender of what joy means to the human experience.
When we reconcile with God and the community, we can endure life and have faith that God is on our side and that the good news is coming. The originator of true hope, joy, peace, and love offers a bright light during a dark time. Darkness happens in our world, but we can experience light.
As a community, how are we allowing the Spirit to use the community’s talents to ensure peace is upon us? We all know that words have meaning, and when we put as many of those words together, we form a much more significant meaning. Therefore, when we say we have faith in God, we should put some action behind them. God does not remain distant from the world, nor should we. The Holy One gave us gifts and talents to use for the kingdom of God, and we should use them! As we walk in our wilderness this Advent and Christmastide season, how are you preparing the way for Christ?