Did you know that when God created us in His image and likeness, He was thinking of reproducing Himself? Being made in God’s image and likeness means that we share some basic qualities with God, and one of them is the ability to plan, and another is an aptitude of preparation. Note that the Fall of Adam did not destroy these facilities.
The beginning of the Book of Genesis tells us the story of creation proves that God is a master planner. Little wonder the Book of Proverbs (16:3) would ask us to commit whatever we do to God, and He will establish our plans. Recall also that God plans good for us (Jeremiah 29:11).
When we go further in the First Chapter of the Book of Genesis, we see that God prepared the firmaments before fixing the heavenly bodies; God also prepared habitations before making the plants and animals (Gen.1:7-9). Finally, before forming man, the crown of His creation, God prepared the garden of Eden (Genesi 2:8).
Life runs on preparation; without preparation, failure becomes imminent. To this end, the liturgy of the Word of the Second Sunday of Advent challenges us to enter the mood of preparation following the call for Hope in the First Sunday of Advent; significantly, hope helps us to plan and prepare.
The Voice of Preparation
The Gospel of Luke (3:1-6) tells us about the ministry and message of John the Baptist, a cousin to Jesus Christ as foretold by the Prophet Isaiah. John was born to announce the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and prepare the people for it with the message of repentance.
At the inception of his ministry, the Jew of Jerusalem sent some Priests and Levites to John to ascertain his identity. John made it clear that he is not Christ. Rather, he relates that he is the Voice crying out in the desert, “make straight the way of the Lord. (John 1:19-23).
Significantly, the Voice has one message, namely, preparation for the coming of the salvation of God. We discover here that the reaffirmation of the need to prepare. Recall that God does nothing with humans without preparation; preparation is a consistent divine pattern.
The Steps to Holy Preparation
Preparation as an action and a process of getting ready before an event appears to be a very broad subject. Hence, the Voice in the desert takes time to reveal what we need to do every step of the way, as the Prophet Baruch (5:1-9) would also confirm as a command from God.
Preparing the Way of the Lord: The Way of the Lord is not like the usual roads we know that lead us to certain places of interest like malls, work, and other areas. There are many ways in the world, but the right Way is the Way of the Lord that is within us; it is a spiritual highway that leads to life. Recall that David would pray, “Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul” (Psalm 143:8).
Every Valley Shall be Filled
The prophecy of Baruch gives us a more descriptive picture of the valley as the “age-old depths and gorges.” Here we see that so many values could have been missing for a very long time to the degree that there are heinous depths and gorges.
Significantly, the valley represents missing things in our relationship with God, especially the virtues of faith, hope, and charity (1 Cor. 13:13). Filling the valley would entail returning the lost virtues to their rightful places.
Every Mountain and Hill shall be made Low.
The Prophet Baruch refers to the uplands as a “lofty mountain,” and this description is very instructive. The word “lofty” here refers to our pride that often rises as a mountain of obstacles. Recall that a mountain is often used in the scriptures to describe something that appears as a great challenge that could move by divine intervention (Zechariah 4:7; Mark 11:23).
Pride is a vice that kills the virtue of humility. The word of God tells us that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). The humble person never gets it wrong because humility is a key that opens uncommon doors. Jesus remains the epitome of humility. He was humble even unto death on the cross (Phil. 2:8).
Straightening the Winding Road and Smoothening the Rough Ways
Other qualities of goods road apart from not having gorges and gullies are that they are straight and smooth. Winding or overly curved roads are often death traps because visibility is affected. The same applies to rough ways that deter mobility and speed.
The Voice in the desert calls for the straightening of the curves and rough edges in our spiritual lives. In turn, the curves and rough edges refer to the various instances of instability in our spiritual life. We are often inconsistent and unstable like a winding or rough way; often, we are hot today and cold, which is repulsive to God.
Moving Forward: Adopting the Preparation Key
We began the Advent season with hope, which functions with vigilance, prayers, love, and holiness. The Second Sunday of Advent invites us to the attitude of preparation by reconstructing a formidable highway for the Lord in our hearts. We need to develop and retain discipline as a superstructure to achieve this spiritual function.
As we continue this Advent journey, we need to realize that proper preparation prevents poor performance. The ideal Christmas is not the award for being alive to see the 25th day of December; it is rather a reward for making adequate preparation for the coming of the Lord. May God’s unfailing grace help us focus on preparing our hearts, not just our homes and other externalities. God bless you.