FOOTSTEPS AND FINGERPRINTS
We celebrate the beginning of the Advent season today. Advent is the period at the beginning of the Liturgical Year preparing the faithful for the coming of the Baby Jesus at Christmas. It is a time of intense spiritual preparation, both for the birth of Christ at Christmas and for His glorious Second Coming, at the end of time, and for the coming of Christ into our own hearts and lives in a fresh, joyful and intimate reunion with Him.
Welcoming His birth is, however, meaningless without accepting the wisdom of the Cross. I have always liked the Scripture verses in Isaiah 40 about the voice calling out in the desert “prepare the way of the Lord”.
The passage continues: “Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; The rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley.” And then the glory of the Lord will be seen and all the world will see the salvation of our God.
For me, this Scripture passage leads me into deep reflection … a great preparation and way of putting my life in order for Christmas!
What are the valleys in my life? These are the areas in my life that are lacking in something or in which I need to exert more discipline and effort to practice my faith. For instance, my prayer time needs strengthening, my health needs more careful attention to diet and exercise and sleep.
To make low every mountain and hill means for me to remove sin and the occasions of sin from my life. When I reflect on this, I check out those things that lead me away from God, that distract me from the path of Christian righteousness. I reflect on whether I have allowed instances of greed, pride, selfishness, self-centeredness or self-indulgences to make me lose focus on practicing the virtues of gratitude, peacefulness of heart, love, goodness, kindness, patience, humility and simplicity.
Setting my priorities right will help smooth over the rugged spots, the rough country, and straighten out the crooked roads in my life.
I review my P & F, Principle and Foundation, Statement that I wrote in 1994 when I took the BCBP’s Steward Leaders Training Course. This statement sets out my priorities in life, puts my life in focus, and acts as the signpost on the Road of Life showing me the right way to go when I come to a crossroads. I check my life now against my P & F to renew my commitment to Jesus and His Way.
Advent for me is a most welcome time of the year to set my life in order, and I pray that I do not get all caught up in the blatant and blaring consumerism that surrounds me. This is also my prayer to all of you, my readers and friends.
Let us always remember the reason for the season – Jesus Christ knocks on the door of our heart asking to come in. Are we prepared to open the door, to open our heart, to Him?