For the last few years during Advent, I’ve been pondering the mind-blowing idea of “God with us.” That’s huge. God. with US. See? Your mind is blown too. I’ll give you a minute.
This year my mind has been focused on something else. Make straight a highway for our God. What does that mean? I have a few ideas but I think this is one I’m going to be chewing on for a while.
It means removing obstacles. When highways are being made, there’s a lot of blowing up of things that have been there a long time. Sometimes obstacles are circumnavigated, but sometimes they’re just blown the hell up. I know that if I’m going to make a highway for God to move through my life, it’s going to be about blowing up some stuff. I’m all about God removing stuff but as it gets closer to being my personal stuff, I’m a little less eager. Not only that, I’m a little less aware. Some of the things I think aren’t obstacles actually are.
As with all parts of spiritual formation, this is about submitting to a process that God’s spirit drives and in which I am both an active and passive participant. The prize is always the blessing, which is knowing God. The benefit to the world is a picture of God’s kingdom.
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.
and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
“Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God.
He will come and save you.”
and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.A highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it,
but it shall be for God’s people;
no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.