Monday, December 6

Isaiah 40:3-11
“… and every mountain and hill shall be made low; the uneven ground will become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and the people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Several years ago, I planned a trip in the fall to a cabin in Tennessee with my family. It was going to be a great trip of relaxation viewing the beautiful foothills of the Smoky Mountains. We had been to Hocking Hills before, so I was bound to go further and see the hills of Tennessee.
It takes a lot of planning to load up the family of five, trying to cut costs of eating out, meal planning, and mapping out activities while there. My plans were to get up early, pack the van, and take our time traveling. I really wanted to get to the cabin during the light of the day. I’m not sure how your family travels, but mine tends to lose track of time by spending more time at the rest area, buying snacks at the gas station, or by goofing off. So, as you would have guessed, we arrived in the dark several hours later than I wanted in a rainy, pitch-black night.

The road leading up to the cabin was a steep one. As we began our ascent, I missed a small sign posted at the beginning of the climb which said “4-wheel drive only”. Leaves and broken twigs had fallen during the rain on the narrow road leading up the hill. You can put the pieces together, I’m sure. We not only did not get to the cabin in my van loaded with five passengers, luggage, and two coolers filled with groceries but slipped off the side of the road toward the mountain leading up to the cabin. We were stuck. Tires spun on the wet pavement covered with leaves in any attempt to get back on the road. This trip had not turned We read in Isaiah 40:3-5: “A voice cries out: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

We hear the message that defines John the Baptist’s ministry and calling. But the verses also sound like constructing a smooth path by lifting every valley and by reducing mountains and hills to be even ground and smoothing of rough places. Sometimes we experience “hills” too steep to climb in our lives that by our own strength we would never begin to overcome. Or, maybe, we have lost someone dear to us along the way, our own souls being crushed like low valleys amongst everyone else’s joy. But God has already planned and mapped our path ahead to give us Jesus, the best gift of all. He provides hope that He will meet our needs no matter where or what we do, we just need to believe in Him and accept Him as our Savior and Lord. He reassures us that He will walk beside us in the most difficult times and the most joyous.

Let’s not miss the small signs He sends that bring hope to us every day even if we get stuck off the side of the road. He will be there to get us back on the highway, to live a full life with Him as our guide. As this Advent unfolds, let us open our hearts and minds, leveling the path and welcoming our Savior. Are you ready for the journey?

-Joann Plattner

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