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3 A voice is calling,
“Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness;
make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.” (NASB translation)
Clear the way, O my soul, clear the way! Through your wilderness of brambles and sharp stones that slice and trip, hiding snakes and scorpions, clear the way! Transform the hostile barrenness into a broad highway. The Savior of Zion is coming to rescue his people.
Christmas was hard for me as a single mom. The holidays rubbed raw the reality of broken marriages that took my sons away from me at the very time other families were drawing close. Special meals and church services, caroling and gift-giving jockeyed around visitation schedules. My heart grew barren, stony, bramble-filled. As much as I loved Jesus, I dreaded, maybe hated, his birthday celebration.
In the mercy of God there came a year when I realized that my family’s brokenness perfectly encapsulated why Jesus took on flesh and came as one of us, this Man of sorrows, bearing to people like me the promise of life and joy in the forgiveness of our sins through his forever sacrifice.
And just as John the Baptist once prepared the spiritual way for Jesus the Beloved Son to come to his people, my heart needs to be prepared for him, too, every Advent season. In the wilderness of family brokenness, even today, I must clear the way for Jesus, and not a footpath, either, but a highway broad and smooth. After all, the King is coming! The Repairer of the breach, The Mender of hearts, The Healer of wounds.
Help me, O God, to hear your voice encouraging me through your Word, “I’m coming! Clear the way! Receive with joy my gift: ‘Your iniquity has been removed!’ Behold your God, Jesus the Promised One, coming today, mighty to save!”
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1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord‘s hand
double for all her sins.
3 A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
6 A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
9 Go on up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good news;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Behold your God!”
10 Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
11 He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.