Day 4

Day 4

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.’

Isaiah 40:3-5

Preparing the Way

Isaiah’s stirring words, like others we hear in Advent, may evoke for you the music of Handel’s “Messiah.” A more surprising image that comes to my mind is that of the M62 motorway. There’s a memorable section near Scammonden Reservoir where a combination of sweeping viaducts and deep cuttings takes the road smoothly through a challenging landscape.

Isaiah gives us a vivid picture of levelling and straightening the path of our hearts, one which the gospel writers later include in the preaching of John the Baptist. “Preparing the way” can mean looking honestly at ourselves and seeing where the peaks and troughs and twists and turns of our lives might be. Do we have any unhelpful attitudes or resentments which are diverting us or digging potholes in the road? Or are we distracted and worried by many things and making mountains out of molehills?

The way we need to prepare is the way to our heart. We look forward to welcoming Jesus who comes to us, but we also embark on our own journey towards him, trusting in his love and healing for our lives.

Martin B


  • Church of England.
  • Diocese of York.