November 27

Prepare the way, O Zion ,
Your Christ is drawing near!
Let every hill and valley
A level way appear.
Greet One who comes in glory,
Foretold in sacred story.
O blest is Christ that came
In God's most holy name.

-- Inspired by Isaiah 40:3-5 & Luke 3:4-6.

I love my Leatherman© Super Tool. Given to me by a family friend back when I did lots of backpacking and camping, I know I walked a little bit lighter and taller when it was attached to my belt. With it, I was prepared for anything and everything. After all, in addition to the standard knife and bottle opener, it comes with multiple screwdrivers, pliers, and wire cutters. Who doesn’t need multiple ways to cut and strip wires when they are out in the woods?

Prepared is what we are supposed to be. Even now, I want to be prepared for whatever comes my way, whether that means offering prayer in order to calm an anxious heart or having duct tape at the ready.

Being prepared means be ready to handle effectively whatever situation you find yourself. Handling it so it doesn’t take you away from where you want to be and who you want to be while you are there.

Of course, this is exactly the opposite of what it means to prepare for the arrival of Jesus the Christ. Instead of making sure you have the resources to handle whatever comes your way, Advent is about peeling away all of those layers of knowledge and protection that keep you status-quo-bound. Advent is all about allowing yourself to be completely vulnerable so that you can be swept up and away by the Word Made Flesh. Peeling away hurt that protects you from more hurt. Peeling away calluses built up from experience, telling you that this year won’t be any different. Peeling away the persona you put on to face the world, covering the child God created you to be. What do you need to peel away to reconnect with what is beneath?

The Coming of God is not something we can handle or absorb. It is Impossible! It is exactly the kind of thing that blows us off of our perches and takes us to places that we would never, when we were our former selves, thought of going. Thanks be to God.

God who arrives in places and times we could never anticipate, thank you. We don’t want to handle you, we want to welcome you into our hearts and lives. Show us where to find the courage to abandon those hopes of being ready and help us instead to empty ourselves. May we be filled, when you do arrive, with joy and singing and sharing so fantastic that even the cynics will not be able to resist You. Amen.



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