Preparing the Way

Daily Meditation Guides for Advent Week 2
Sunday, December 8, 2013

Meditations for this week are based primarily on Isaiah 40:1-11. We are considering many aspects of its significance.  You may want to begin each day’s meditation by reading the entire selection.

 Start or continue a daily journal for the period of Advent to Epiphany. If you kept a daily journal during the first week of Advent, review it now.  What surprises you? Jot that down in your journal for today.  Also remember to include each day:

  1. Any unusual or key event in your life
  2. Your meditative thoughts for the day
  3. Any feelings or spiritual issues you are trying to work through
  4. Your conversations with God

 Preparing the Way

Read Isaiah 40:3-4 and Mark 4:3-8

This is an awesome and puzzling responsibility — one that we rarely consider except during Advent.  What does it mean to “prepare the way of the Lord” and to make it “straight”?  We are much more comfortable with the words of Psalm 5:8, “Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness… make your way straight before me,” where the responsibility is on God. But now we are told to prepare the way of the Lord and to make a straight highway for our God!

John the Baptist, who identified himself as the one preaching the words of Isaiah 40:3-4, called his hearers to repentance and forgiveness. Our first task in preparing the way of the Lord – preparing our hearts so God can enter –is to recognize that the coming of the Lord brings forgiveness and healing.  The demand of repentance means simply to accept that forgiveness and healing.

  • I need to accept forgiveness for myself so that I can also forgive and accept myself–for God has already accepted me with love and joy!
  • I need to pray for and accept the healing of God which will give me a forgiving spirit toward others.

To prepare the way of the Lord, we wait upon God in openness.

Meditate on your own need for forgiveness and healing. What sins are you still feeling guilty about? God understands our weaknesses much better than we do and has already forgiven you. What resentment and lack of forgiveness do you harbor toward someone else?  Tell God honestly that you are unable to forgive on your own, and ask God for a forgiving spirit. I have tried this, and to my amazement, over a period of time my understanding of the person and situation radically changed and I no longer felt the  resentment–God answered my prayer.

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About Nancy Smith

Nancy Smith has 20 years’ experience in technical writing and management in software companies. She also has more than 20 years in Christian ministry as an educator, course designer, retreat leader, spiritual director, pastor, and coach. A United Methodist Deacon, Smith has her M.Div. from Boston University. She is a graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, and is certified in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leadership from Boston College.
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