Once upon a time, Dave’s mom comes home to announce to him and his dad that her closest friend Mrs. Brown would be visiting them by the weekend with her husband and their only daughter Jane. Dave is excited about the visit though he tries not to show it because his mum noticed he was bonding with Jane the last time the family visited.
With the announcement of the visit of the Browns, the entire house turned into a hub of activities. Dave’s dad had to put the lawn mower into action, fix new curtains, and rearrange the dining. Dave’s mum did extensive shopping and even got something they never used. Dave had only one thing to do, and that is to appear in clean clothes on that day.
On the day of the visit, as Dave’s parents make the final preparations, Dave decided to draw and paint some animals to impress Jane who may be coming into his room. He spent some time drawing and painting various animals from the letter A to Z. The family finally arrives and receives a warm welcome from the host family.
Dave could hear them coming in and decides to do the last painting on the Zebra. As he was finishing, his father invites him to welcome Jane and the parents. Dave rushes out to greet them, but Jane remarks with disappointment that his clothes are spotting with paints all over. At that point, Dave takes a closer look at himself to realize how awful he is looking. His parents could not hide their anger as they order him to change into new clothes immediately. “Did Dave prepare for the visit of the Browns?” We shall find out later in the reflection.
The central message of this Second Sunday of Advent is about preparation. The rhythm of life functions with preparations. We could also learn that from God. Before He created the creeping things and sea animals he already prepared the land and the sea. Before he created Adam and Eve, He prepared a garden for them. It is one thing to prepare but another to prepare well; in the case of God, the Bible tells us they (all his preparations) were all excellent. Hence, preparation can be done well or poorly like in the case of Dave who messed up his clothes while preparing to entertain Jane with his drawings.
In the First Reading (Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11) and the Gospel Reading today (Mark 1:1-8), the Old and New Testament prophets Isaiah and John the Baptist, give us the dynamics for preparing for the coming of the Lord. The prophet Isaiah tells us to do three important things while making way for the Lord before the appearance of his glory:
- Fill the valleys: This points to the emptiness in our lives which we need to fill with virtues. The virtues we need this time among others are patience, watchfulness, and love.
- Level the mountains: We often have a lot of destructive mountains in the form of sins in our lives. This season invites us to level these mountains. The presence of these mountains in our lives would block us from seeing the Lord when he comes.
- Make the rugged land plain: This has to do with the straightening out of our attitudes and making positive changes. Often, we are lukewarm; neither hot nor cold. The word of God says He will spit us out if we are lukewarm (Rev. 3:15-16).
The Gospel Reading shows us the operationalization of these three steps in the ministry of John the Baptist through the administering of the baptism of repentance. To repent is to turn around and to do something differently. John the Baptist appeared wearing camel’s hair with a belt around his waist, and for food, he ate locust and honey.
There is a message for us with the description of his wardrobe and diet. The materials mentioned may look common but to get each of them requires thorough work. We are therefore instructed to not only to be modest in our clothing and diet this season but also to be ready to tie up our waist in readiness for the coming of the Lord. In the Second Reading (2 Peter 3:8-14) Peter tells us that it will be like the coming of a thief so we should conduct ourselves in holiness and devotion.
Have a beautiful Second Sunday of Advent and more blessings ahead.