A Welcoming and a Homecoming
Where I live, snow is a blanket which God pulls over the earth in November and doesn’t remove until late spring. It is stunningly beautiful but often makes holiday travel somewhat treacherous and snowplows a necessity. Not only do the roads need to be cleared with vigilance, but sidewalks and porches leading to our holiday homes. Making a path for persons to arrive “home” is an apt metaphor for the season of Advent that is upon us.
Far from my snowy landscape in Idaho is an arid wilderness in Israel. In it, a figure as rugged as his environs cries out, “Prepare for God’s arrival! Clear a highway for the Lord in the desert!” (Mt. 3:3). And like any new path that must be cut, this spiritual one is potentially littered with obstacles. John the Baptist’s metaphor invites the questions, “What are the obstacles in my life that could obstruct Christ’s coming anew to me this year?” Are they sins? anxieties? distractions? apathy? or unwillingness to believe he desires above all to meet me again?” John the Baptist, our Advent guide, understood that this Way in the wilderness, is intended by God to be a two-lane highway – a mutual welcoming of Christ and a spiritual homecoming for the Christian.
Each week of Advent serves as a mile-marker along our journey to a tiny cave in Bethlehem – each week a deeper welcoming of Christ and a step closer to our true “home.” He is our resting place (Mt. 11:28-30), he is our Promise and our Promised Land. Heaven is more a Person than a place. So let us hear afresh the angels’ promise of peace, let us join the journey of the shepherd families, sharing their joy and straining in the darkness to find that Light – that infant sign that signifies simultaneously that God has made his home with us and revealed himself as our True Home.