The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough places smooth;
The glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together;
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
Isaiah 40:3-5 (NKJV)
When Mary and Joseph made their way to Bethlehem on that first of Christmases, you can bet that the rough places had not been smoothed out for them. They were unknown – just two more people making their way to their ancestral hometown, so that they could be counted in the cencus.
Just two poor teenagers, slowly making their way – Joseph on foot and Mary on a lowly donkey. Over the rough desert terrain, without a highway to guide them or to make their travel straight.
I wonder how much they understood about all that was happening in them and through them. Certainly, they’d been visited by Angelic messengers…Heaven doesn’t show up in your sleeping quarters without making an impression. I think it’s safe to say they knew God was up to something.
But could they have imagined all that would happen? Could they have understood that this baby was the Messiah? That millions would put their trust in him and find the crooked and rough places of their lives straightened out and made smooth?
I don’t know. But I wonder.
This Advent, may you be captured by wonder. May you contemplate the questions that this Holy birth produces. May you find that in this contemplation a few of your own crooked places begin to straighten, and your rough places become smooth. For this is the hope we have in Jesus.