The Weekly Word Advent Series - A Devotion for the Fourth Week of Advent
Join us for the month of December as we offer a special Weekly Word devotion in honor of the Advent season. We invite you to make space in your heart, mind and soul as we wait with joyful anticipation for the coming of Christ.
This week’s scripture reading is from Isaiah 40:3-5.
A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
For many of us, Advent is a time of preparation. We shop for Christmas gifts for our loved ones. We bake an array of sweet treats and decorate our homes with twinkling lights and evergreens. We sing along to Christmas carols on Spotify as we wrap presents and stuff stockings – all in preparation for Christmas Day.
Back in the fourth century, however, the concept of Advent was first introduced not as a season of hectic preparation, but as a season of quiet reflection and repentance. Christians typically spent much of these four weeks fasting, praying, confessing their transgressions and turning their hearts more fully toward God.
These prophetic words from Isaiah, which were repeated many generations later by John the Baptist, reflect that message of repentance. Isaiah and John the Baptist call us to prepare for the coming of Christ not by adding more busyness, distractions and stuff to our already full lives, but by doing the opposite: by cutting through the extraneous to get straight to the heart of the matter.
As we approach the final week of Advent, let us take some time to reflect on how we might prepare our hearts to receive God. Are there mountains that stand in the way of a deeper relationship with Him? Are their rough spots that should be identified, addressed and smoothed out? Where have we wandered or gone astray?
God does not require us to polish ourselves to perfection in order to come to Him. No valley – no matter how deep -- nor mountain – no matter how high -- will ever separate us from His love. God asks only that we turn toward Him with our whole hearts; He will come the rest of the way to us.
Heavenly Father, sometimes I get caught up in all the busyness of the holidays, and I forget the most important thing. This week I am grateful to prepare not just my home but my heart for You. Amen.