The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”–Matthew 3:3


My oldest son had the opportunity to go to Spain this fall with a friend. I enjoyed listening to the months of planning he put into his trip: airline flights, where he would stay, what he would do while he was there. He researched every detail: money, maps, customs–even viewing the actual street where his hostel was located on the Internet. I’m sure there were still a few surprises along the way, but all his preparation made room for more joy in the journey than fear.

Advent is supposed to be a time of preparation and expectation of the coming of Christ, both as we remember Jesus’s birth, and we anticipate the joy in the final coming of our Lord. We live in a society, though, that seems to spend much more time preparing for Christmas than for Christ.

But for many people, the bright lights and festivities of Christmas only mock their pain. There are many people who are alone, people who grieve, people who are without jobs, people who deal with chronic illnesses, people who have lost hope.

All of us would benefit to find more of Christ in our lives this season, than finding all of the perfect Christmas presents and decorations and foods. That is what this season of preparation is about: to consider what the love of a Savior means for us personally, and what that love can mean to someone else.

None of our journeys through life are without unexpected and difficult detours. But with the proper preparation–making our lives more about Christ and less about ourselves–we will make room for more joy in our journey than fear.