“Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain…made low. …And the glory of the Lord will be revealed.” Isaiah 40:3-5

“Tis the season,” isn’t it? All around us, in the world, our homes, and churches, everyone is busy preparing. Shops are preparing attractive ad campaigns, people are preparing decorations, shopping lists, parties, family gatherings. Even our churches prepare extra choir music and worship services. Preparations of every kind by all kinds of people!

But preparing for what? The commercial world turns the birth of our Savior into its season of highest profits. Many prepare simply to brighten the cold, dark winter weeks, thinking santas and lights, penguins and partying will make them feel good. Even we Christians fret about decorations, food, cards, gifts, and more till our lives are stressed.

Take a closer look at your preparations. Are they all earth-bound or are they designed to point your hearts and minds to heaven? The preparation Isaiah foretold was fulfilled in part long ago when John the Baptist prepared the hearts of the Jews to hear Jesus’ message that he fulfilled all the prophecies of God’s Messiah, his chosen one. But it is also being fulfilled in our lives right now as the Holy Spirit works to raise us up out of the valley of despair over sin and as he makes low the mountains of our sinful pride.

This is what we prepare for—for God to work through his Word in our hearts and lives so that we can glorify him in all we do. We prepare to spread that Word to those around us lost in the sinful materialism of our culture. We prepare to support those who shine the light of the gospel in dark and hopeless lands.

When the Savior was born, the glory of the Lord shone around the shepherds and continued to shine in Jesus’ teachings, miracles, redemptive death, and glorious resurrection. And when the Lord of Glory comes again to earth, it won’t be quietly in a dirty barn with only his poor parents, farm animals, and shepherds around him. No, he will come with power, with all his angels, with the sound of trumpets, so all the world—believer and unbeliever alike—will see him and know the Name above all names, and the glory of the Lord will be revealed to all!

May you and yours be prepared to see God’s glory in heaven. May you be moved to do all you can with the gifts God has given you to bring as many as possible to join you there.

Blessed Babe of Bethlehem, by your Word and sacraments prepare us and many others to recognize your glory here on earth and to be ready to see it fully revealed when we enter heaven. Amen

Karla Jaeger